4. Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
Adebayo may have let Precious Achiuwa beat him up on the glass when the two parties did battle earlier in the season, but he is still one of the game’s best defensive big men. The Heat have some offensive deficiencies, yet they continue to pull out wins because of what Bam can do on the court.
The Heat remain a much better defensive team when he’s on the floor, as even the mighty Pascal Siakam has had issues trying to wiggle free and create when Bam is on the floor. Adebayo has a strong reputation, and that could be tough for a player like O.G. to shake in the eyes of voters.
Toronto Raptors: O.G. Anunoby is slightly above Marcus Smart.
3. Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics
Smart will likely end up on the All-Defensive team again, as his lack of amazing counting stats is overshadowed by the fact that he is consistently winning matchups against some of the best guards in the Eastern Conference. Boston’s defense has been lethal again this year despite the loss of Robert Williams.
Smart’s Defensive Player of the Year win last year may have surprised someone, but his play this year has shown that, at the very least, he’ll be an All-Defensive team regular. Boston’s strong team defense, anchored on the perimeter by Smart, will boost his case.