Draymond Green won’t be adding any individual hardware to his shelf this year — well, unless he wins NBA Finals MVP, which I’m here for — but the Golden State Warriors star is still getting commended for his outstanding play.
On Monday afternoon, the league announced that Memphis Grizzlies power forward Jaren Jackson Jr. had been named the 2022-23 Defensive Player of the Year, which was the expected outcome.
But Green wasn’t too far behind, as he finished fourth in the voting, behind second-place finisher Brook Lopez of the Milwaukee Bucks, and third-place finisher Evan Mobley of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With 12 different players getting votes, the ballots were very spread out, and Dray only appeared on 18 of the 100 ballots. But he did receive three first-place votes for the award, to go with his two second-place votes and 13 third-place votes.
Green remains, in many people’s eyes, the best defensive player alive when it matters most. But he never had a realistic shot at winning his second Defensive Player of the Year trophy. He didn’t always bring his A-game in this championship hangover season, the Warriors finished with just the 14th-best defensive rating in the league, and Green missed nine games. None of those things were singularly disqualifying but, all put together, it was clear that he wasn’t in the running to win the award.
Which certainly doesn’t mean that he’s not the most feared defender in the playoffs. And for what it’s worth, Green finished fourth in the league this year in Defensive EPM, seen by many as the top catch-all defensive metric.
It’s the fifth time in his career that Dray has finished in the top five in voting for the prestigious award. He finished third in 2020-21, and had back-to-back runner-up finishes in 2014-15 and 2015-16. He won the only DPOY award of his career in 2016-17.
The two All-Defense teams haven’t yet been announced, but it seems very likely that he’ll be on one of them.
Rounding out the rest of the DPOY voting were: Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo fifth, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo sixth, Bucks guard Jrue Holiday and Toronto Raptors guard OG Anunoby tied for seventh, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid and Brooklyn Nets center Nic Claxton tied for ninth; Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso 11th, and Heat forward Jimmy Butler 12th.
Now, let’s see if finishing “only” fourth motivates Green for the rest of this first-round series against the Sacramento Kings...