Lakers News: Anthony Davis Not Named Defensive Player Of The Year Finalist
Anthony Davis, Lakers
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA has announced the finalists for Defensive Player of the Year and Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis did not make the cut. The three finalists are Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert, Miami Heat big man Bam Adebayo and San Antonio Spurs rookie phenom Victor Wembanyama.

The 2023-24 season was one in which Davis reminded the world of just how good he is when he remains healthy, and he did that. Davis played in 76 games for the Lakers this season and finished third in the NBA with 12.6 rebounds per game and fourth in the league with 2.3 blocks while also averaging 1.2 steals.

Davis was the centerpiece of the Lakers’ defense, which was one of the best in the league down the stretch of the season. The big man erased numerous mistakes and remains one of the best bigs in terms of his ability to switch on the perimeter and contain smaller guards as well.

Apparently, all of that still was not enough for him to crack the top three in votes. Davis has yet to win the Defensive Player of the Year award in his career, but was previously named a finalist in 2020.

He had some stiff competition to take home the award, however. Wembanyama led the NBA in blocks by a wide margin with a ridiculous 3.6 per game. He and Davis were the only two players in the league to average at least 10 rebounds, two blocks and one steal per game this season. It was truly an unreal showing from the rookie as he looks every bit as advertised so far in his career.

Gobert, meanwhile, is one of the most decorated defensive bigs in NBA history having won this award three times. The Timberwolves had the best defense in the league and Gobert’s work around the rim was a main reason why. He ranked second in the league with 12.9 rebounds per game and was sixth in blocks at 2.1 per game.

Adebayo is continuing to ascend as a defender and averaged a career-high 10.4 rebounds and almost a block a game this season.

All four bigs had incredible seasons on the defensive end of the court and would be deserving of taking home the hardware, but only one will do so and unfortunately for Davis, he doesn’t even have a shot.

Lakers’ Anthony Davis willing to defend Nikola Jokic more if necessary

Currently, Anthony Davis has the toughest defensive challenge in front of him as he and the Lakers try to contain Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic. In Game 1, the Lakers chose to have Rui Hachimura be the primary defender while Davis provided help, but he is willing to take on the primary task if that’s what the Lakers need moving forward.

“But yeah, like I said, we’ll look at it and make our adjustments,” Davis said. “Talk among ourselves and just kind of see if we’re helping Rui, if we’re leaving him on an island when he scores and things like that. Then we’ll make the proper adjustments going into Game 2. If that means that I’m on him for the whole game then so be it. But that was the game plan going into tonight.”

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