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Surprise Spoiler Gaining Ground in Updated Defensive Player of the Year Odds

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As the NBA season winds down, we have a good idea of who will win what major award. Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic will likely win his third MVP in four seasons, 76ers All-Star Tyrese Maxey will win Most Improved Player, and San Antonio Spurs rookie sensation Victor Wembanyama will be the Rookie of the Year.

All three players deserve the award that will come their way, but the Defensive Player of the Year may not be so obvious. Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star center Rudy Gobert is currently the odds favorite. However, a surprise spoiler is gaining traction on the three-time Defensive Player of the Year, superstar rookie Victor Wembanyama.

That’s right, folks; Wembanyama is also in the running for Defensive Player of the Year in his rookie season. His size and height alone are otherworldly, which helps a ton on the defensive side of the ball. While it’s Gobert’s award to lose at the moment, Wembanyama is right on his tail.

According to Basketball Insiders, Gobert is the prohibitive favorite at -500, but Wembanyama is second with +350 odds.

Victor Wembanyama (+350 Odds)

“The favorite for Rookie of the Year is also leading the NBA in blocks per game at 3.5. On top of this, Wembanyama is also tallying 1.3 steals per game to go along with a defensive rating of 107, a block percentage of 10.0 percent which also leads the league, and a defensive box plus/minus rating of 3.0. While Wembanyama’s defense has not translated into much team success, one could argue his odds for winning the Defensive Player of the Year should be higher.”

Victor Wembanyama Rudy Gobert
Victor Wembanyama #1 of the San Antonio Spurs receives a pass against Rudy Gobert #27 of the Minnesota Timberwolves in the second quarter at Target Center on February 27, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. They’re currently…


Getty Images/David Berding

As Los Angeles Lakers great and future Hall of Famer LeBron James has said, “Wembanyama is an alien.” We’ve never seen anyone his size do the things he does night in and night out. You may be thinking, “Well, he’s 7-foot-4, he better be good on the defensive end.” Yes, that’s true, but not everyone that tall takes advantage of it.

Wembanyama certainly doesn’t take his size for granted; he averages 3.5 blocks per game and 1.6 steals per game. When he records a block or steal, he is often the one who brings the ball up after causing the turnover. Even if the 20-year-old doesn’t win it this season, he will win the award multiple times in due time. Soon enough, it will be Wemby’s league, and we’ll all be living it.