Kawhi Locks Up Defensive Player of the Year Award
The San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard won his second straight Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year award (DPOY) when the voting results were announced Monday afternoon. Honoring the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) best defensive player, Leonard beat out Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors and the Miami Heat’s Hassan Whiteside, who finished second and third, respectively.
After winning the award last year, the 24 year-old rising star adds this accomplishment to his increasingly large list of accolades already including an all-star appearance, a Finals’ MVP, and the 2015 DPOY award. Continuing to emerge as one of the NBA’s best two way players, the fifth year forward set career highs in points per game, blocks, assists, as well as free throw and three point shooting.
The first non-center player to win the award back to back since Dennis Rodman did so in 1990 and 1991, Leonard has helped lead the Spurs to a team record of 67 wins, solidifying the team as the best defensive team in the NBA as well. Allowing a league leading 92.9 points per game to their opponents, the Spurs put up historically good numbers as a team that would certainly be more recognized had it not been for the Golden State Warriors and their NBA record 73 wins.
As part of an organization that values winning and teamwork above all else, Leonard is sure to not let winning the DPOY award get in the way of his quest for another NBA championship. With an exciting, and hopefully long, postseason ahead of them, the Spurs will need all the award winning Kawhi Leonard play that they can get, in hopes they can add another ring to the team’s collection.
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