Giannis Antetokounmpo, The Greek Freak, has been one of the most dominant players the league has ever seen. Giannis is not just dominant on the offensive end but is a beast defensively and one of the best help defenders in the league. The 2 time MVP is once again in the conversation to win the award this season and this week he has risen to the top of the standings among the contenders for the Defensive Player of the year award. Giannis joined the greats, Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only 3 players in league history to win both MVP and Defensive Player of the year awards in the same season.
If Giannis does it again this season, he will be the only person to ever accomplish the feat twice. The 6-time All-star is averaging 29.2 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 6 assists per game this season. Defensively he is averaging 1.4 blocks and 1 steal per game. While his numbers are the best he has averaged in his career offensively, his defensive numbers aren’t the best in the league. Giannis is 11th in total blocks and isn’t even in the top 50 in total steals. But with Rudy Gobert and Draymond Green injured, Giannis has risen to the top of the standings. The only player I believe that has outperformed Giannis defensively and is a part of a winning organization is Jaren Jackson Jr.
Jaren Jackson leads the league in total blocks made and is averaging 2.2 blocks per game. He is tied for 37th place in total steals along with Andre Drummond and James Harden. The Grizzlies are currently the 3rd seed in the west and have proven to be a dangerous, young team that could possibly reach the conference finals this year. They also have the 3rd best record in the league. Jackson has been a big part of what the organization is building and has been a key piece in helping the team win games. His presence in the paint as a rim protector and his versatility on the offensive end has been a great support for his teammate and superstar Ja Morant.
While it looks like Giannis is the favourite to win the award right now, we have a lot of the season left and with the Grizzlies making the noise they are making right now, it might be entirely possible that within the next 20 games Jackson could be the front runner for the award.