The top 15 players to never win DPOTY
The defensive player of the year award, or DPOTY, has been an award given annually to the game's best defender since 1983. There have been some great defensive players to win DPOTY such as Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, and most recently Rudy Gobert. But there have also been some great defensive players to never win the award. Which begs the question, why?
Here is a list of the top 15 greatest NBA defenders, in the DPOTY era, to never have won the award.
15 Chris Paul
CP3 is one of the game's best offensive players, but also one of the best defenders of all time as well. He is consistently defending the opposing team's best guard and has ranked top 10 in steals 12 times in his NBA career, and the first six times.
He is often overlooked because of his size, but he is a tenacious defender. Betway currently has him with the highest odds of any player on this list to win the award.
14 Patrick Ewing
Ewing played in an era of great defensive big men, so his defensive prowess got overshadowed by Olajuwon, Robinson, and even guys like Mark Eaton. But he was a 3-time all-defensive team member and was consistently in the top 10 of the NBA for rebounds and blocks.
He also was one of the few players who could slow down a prime Hakeem Olajuwon.
13 Bobby Jones
Jones barely makes this list and makes it because he was kind of screwed out of the first award in 1983. One reason voters did not vote for him is that some thought that the 1983 Sixers were going to win too many post-season awards, so they voted for Sidney Moncrief.
Jones was the defensive backbone to s Sixers team that made four straight NBA finals and won the franchise's last title. He was nicknamed "the secretary of defense" for his tenacious defense. He was undersized and a modern comparison to his game would be Draymond Green
12 Lebron James
King James is one of the top players in NBA history, probably top 3 all-time. But his defense often gets overshadowed by his offense.
James is currently a six-time member of the all-defensive team and usually ranks as one of his team's best defenders. His steals and blocks are not bad for a player his size and a player whose primary function on the basketball court is to score. Betway SA has James with a higher chance of winning MVP than DPOTY.
Because he has to spend so much energy everywhere, at times his defense has lacked which has likely cost him the award.
11 Jason Kidd
Another great point guard, Kidd was a nine-time all-defensive team member, and one of the best rebounding guards of his era
He played during an era of great point guards, like John Stockton, Gary Payton, and Steve Nash, and would normally hold his own against these greats.
10 Andrei Kirilenko
AK47 was one of the most versatile defenders of the early to mid-00s. He is one of the few players in NBA history to have multiple 5x5 games; a game where a player gets five or more in each positive statistical category.
Kirilenko's biggest issue and likely why he did not ever win the award was that when he was in his prime, he played on some mediocre teams. When he finally played on good teams his abilities had declined too much.
9 Tony Allen
A six-time all-defensive team member, who guarded the opposition's best offensive player. Allen was often overlooked in his era, especially during his prime because the Celtics and Grizzlies had better offensive players. He also played alongside multiple DPOTY award winners, which hurt his chances of winning the award
8 John Stockton
The NBA's all-time leader in steals was also a five-time all-defensive team member. Stockton primarily used speed and quickness and his small stature to his advantage. He was a master at playing passing lanes and being able to force people into other defenders and pick their pocket for a steal
7 Joe Dumars
Arguably the best defender on the bad boy Pistons teams of the late 80s. Michael Jordan once said that Dumars was the toughest defender he ever had to play against.
Like Tony Allen, Dumars chances at the award were hurt because he had teammates who were thought to be better defenders than him.
6 Shawn Marion
Probably the most underrated player in NBA history, both offensively and defensively. Marion was one of the toughest defenders of his era, but his individual defense always got overshadowed by his team's terrible defense during his days with the Suns
He was also a versatile defender who could at times in his career defend all five positions on the court.
5 Andre Iguodala
Only a two-time all-defensive team member, Iggy has been the defensive crux for a lot of good teams, most notably the late 2010s Golden State Warriors dynasty that won three NBA titles in 5 seasons. He is the only non-Celtics player to appear in six straight NBA finals.
4 Kobe Bryant
Primarily known for his offensive, Kobe was a 12-time all-defensive team member. His 12 all-defensive selections is the 2nd most all-time, only behind Tim Duncan.
Kobe regularly guarded the opposing team's best wing player, which in his era was rare to see from a primary scorer.
3 Bruce Bowen
An 8-time all-defensive team member, Bowen was a key contributor to the rise of the Spurs 2000s dynasty. He always guarded the opposition's toughest player and was widely regarded as the best defender in the NBA in the early 2000s.
Bowen is another player who fell victim to having higher-profile defenders playing with him, as the Spurs had both David Robinson and Tim Duncan.
2 Scottie Pippen
Michael Jordan's running mate for six NBA titles. Pippen was the defensive heart and soul of the 90s Bulls dynasty. He frequently did not get the recognition he deserved in the 1990s and this brought about tension.
1 Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan made an NBA record for 15 all-defensive teams in his career, and yet never won the award. Duncan not winning the award is one of the great mysteries of the NBA universe. By all metrics and statistics, he should have won it multiple times. His teams were always good, winning 5 NBA titles, and he was known as the best post defender of his era. Still voters, never voted for him to win the award.
A few of the players on this list could still win the award and thus be removed from this list. Betway SA has the chances for Lebron James to win DPOTY very low, however, but it could still happen.