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The long arms and super-sized hands of Kawhi Leonard will be clutching a second straight Defensive Player of the Year award. The Spurs' suffocating stopper beat out Golden State's Draymond Green, garnering 84 first-place votes to Green's 44.
Miami's Hassan Whiteside finished third in the voting, followed by Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, Hawks forward Paul Millsap and Boston guard Avery Bradley.
Jazz center Rudy Gobert finished seventh in the voting. Gobert received one second place vote and 10 third-place votes http://official.nba.com/2015-16-nba-annual-award-voting-results/" target="_blank">(you can see an entire breakdown of the voting here):
Jody Genessy, Deseret News
Charles Gardner, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Eddie Johnson, Fox Sports Arizona
Jim Petersen, Fox Sports North
Joe Freeman, The Oregonian
Ken Berger, CBSSports.com
Matt Bullard, Root Sports Southwest
Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer
Ron Tillery, Memphis Commercial Appeal
Sean Deveney, The Sporting News
Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press
I voted Leonard first, Green second and Whiteside third.
I did not vote for Gobert. A few people have asked me why, a few others have said that the voters disrespected Gobert. For me, it was a matter of misfortune and circumstance that kept Gobert out of my top 3.
On the whole, I do believe Gobert is a more complete defender than Whiteside. At his best, Jazz center is probably the league's best rim and he is more versatile than simply being a shot blocker. There's no question that without him the Jazz would not have finished with the seventh best defense in the NBA this season. (You'll see later I gave Gobert a second-team all-defense nod).
But Gobert missed about a quarter of the season with a knee injury and obviously took some time to get back to full strength. As for Whiteside, I understand the knocks against him. He missed games, too, though not as many as Gobert. But in the end, Whiteside was a consistently imposing force in the paint, tallying a remarkable 269 rejections for the league's sixth-best defense. He earned my vote.
Obviously, reasonable minds can and do differ.
How would you have voted?