Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard wins Defensive Player of the Year
San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year on Monday, claiming the award for the second straight season.
Leonard led a Spurs defense that allowed the fewest points per game (92.9) in the league this season, three points better than the Utah Jazz.
He finished the regular season with 1.78 steals, 5.5 defensive rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. He also averaged career-highs in points (21.2) and assists (2.6).
Leonard is the first non-center to win the award in consecutive seasons since Dennis Rodman in 1989–90 and 1990–91. Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard is the last player to win the award in back-to-back seasons, claiming it three-straight times from 2008–09 to 2010–11.
Leonard finished with 84 of 130 first-place votes, 40 more than second-place finisher Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors. Miami Heat forward Hassan Whiteside got the last two votes.
The Spurs hold a 1–0 lead in their first round series against the Memphis Grizzlies.