By Hocine LOUKKAF on 11/17/2018

Second part of our predictions for Defensive Player of the Year and All NBA teams at the end of the year.

Defensive Player of the Year

-Anthony Davis, 6-10 PF, New Orleans. If Davis can play more than 60 games and have a successful year with the Pels, his versatility should allow him to win the trophy. He’s one of the top three shot blocker in the League and also racks steals thanks to his quick hands.

-Kawhi Leonard, 6-8  SF, Toronto. It seems like Kawhi is back to his old terrific self. A physical freak, Kawhi can guard  anyone from the one to the five and takes pride in locking down his player. He’s on a mission after his “conflict” with the Spurs and may use it as a motivation.

-Giannis Antetokounmpo, 6-11 PF/SF, Milwaukee. Giannis is long, athletic, can switch on guards or inside player and covers ground  on the floor and in the air. He keeps improving on defense and is the main factor for an improving Bucks team.

-Rudy Gobert, 7-2 C, Utah. Well, Rudy being Rudy, he’s the same rim protector and rebounder which has helped Utah come back to the playoffs in a stacked Western Conference and that makes him win the trophy last year

-Joel Embiid, 7-0 C, Philadelphia. With Embiid, it’s all about durability. If he can stay healthy the whole year and be successful with the Sixers, he will be in the race for sure. He may not have the same versatility than Leonard Davis or Giannis but when he’s on the floor, he makes his presence felt.

All NBA Teams

First team

-Kevin Durant, 6-10 SF, Golden State. Whatever he does at the end of the year, Durant is in situation to bring another title to the Bay. He’s at the peak of his art, an incredible shooter with the same freakish athletic tools.

-LeBron James, 6-8 SF, LA Lakers. For probably his last team in his career, Lebron joined the Lake Show. At 34, his work ethic allows him to be as physical as ever and with the same versatility that should allow him to make the Lakers successful again.

-Anthony Davis, 6-10 PF, New Orleans. Davis is a versatile defender and offensive threat. If he stays healthy, he should help the Pels be as successful as last year. He was already first team last year and he’s nowhere near to stop, ading a consistent three point shot to his arsenal.

-Joel Embiid, 7-0 C, Philadelphia. In less than a hundred games, Jojo has displayed his power around the rim and finess outside the paint. He’s already the best center in the league and the reason why Philly is back in business again.

-Kawhi Leonard, 6-8 SF, Toronto. Leonard is healthy and the same special player than he was or the Spurs. A beast physically, a two-way player who can shoot or drive with the same efficiency, Leonard could help Toronto reach the  goals they weren’t able to reach with Derozan.

Second team

-Stephen Curry, 6-3 PG, Golden State. Curry is not satisfied yet. Like Durant, he’s mastering his art. He’s already an NBA legend wich has some more years to build his legacy. His health are the only reason he could not be a first team at the end of the year.

-Giannis Antetokounmpo, 6-11 PF/SF, Milwaukee.  Gianni keeps improving on both ends of the floor and will try to move Milwaukee to the top of the Eastern conference. If only he could improve his shooting…

-Kyrie Irving, 6-2 PG, Boston. After his injury, Irving could be willing to prove he’s the same unstoppable guard with wizardry ball handling and shooting.

-James Harden, 6-5 SG, Houston. Last year’s MVP is unstoppable when he’s hot but his unwilligness to defend puts him, to me, below the best two-way player.

-Jimmy Butler, 6-5 SG, Philadelphia. Butler wanted to be traded and has found the good spot alongside Embiid and Simmons in Philly. He’s a winner and a hard-nosed defender who should bring instant scoring and defense in the Sixers’ backcourt.

Third team

-Nikola Jokic, 7-0 C, Denver. The throwback big man does everything for his team and above all, makes Denver win games. A real point center who has to be considered as an All NBA team member.

-Russell Westbrook, 6-3 PG, OKC. Westbrook is a consistent triple double threat and the boss of the Thunder since KD left. With his high risk game, he won’t have many years to reach the Finals.

-Paul George, 6-7 SF, OKC. George had a difficult task in replacing KD but did pretty well both on offense and defense. With Anthony gone, he will have more room to operate from the wing.

-Rudy Gobert, 7-2 C, Utah. Gobert deserves some love. Of course, his defense is what we notice first but he keeps improving every year on offense with some of the highest FG% in the league.

-Damian Lillard, 6-3 PG, Portland. This year has to be special for the Blazers with the death of long time owner Paul Allen. Lilliard may use it as a motivation to have the best year of his career.

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