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Kawhi Leonard wins the Defensive Player of the Year Award

For the second consecutive season, Kawhi Leonard wins the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award with a total of 84 first place votes. He now becomes the seventh player to win the award multiple times and the first player to do so since Dwight Howard from 2009-2011.

Leonard has made impressive strides since his rookie season a mere four seasons ago. His scoring averages have increased each season that he’s been in the NBA, taking on a bigger load as each contest goes by. Gregg Popovich is quoted saying “Kawhi Leonard could be a two way star like Michael Jordan.” Now with more DPOY awards than Michael Jordan, “Sugar K” is displaying that Coach Pop wasn’t making an outlandish statement.

“The Claw” anchors a San Antonio defense that ranked tenth in steals, sixth in blocks, and first in allowing the least amount of points during the regular season. There were several worthy candidates including do-it-all forward Draymond Green, who finished second in the voting, and shot blocking extraordinaire Hassan Whiteside. However, the Spurs are consistently a stifling team on defense; and that’s in large part because of Leonard. This past regular season, he finished second in defensive win shares, third in defensive rating and top 15 in steals per game. That’s incredible defensive effort for someone so young and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

The 24-year-old forward has been racking up accolades since his third year in the league. He has a Finals MVP under his belt to go along with an NBA Championship, he was named an All-Star this past February, and now has a second Defensive Player of the Award trophy. He was the first non-center to win the honor since Ron Artest in 2003-04 last season. This season, Leonard is the first non-center to accomplish the feat in sequence since Dennis Rodman from the 1989 through 1991 seasons. Depending on the outcome of the Spurs postseason, Leonard may have the opportunity to add another championship ring to his collection as well.


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