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Monday, April 15, 2024

Victor Wembanyama Has More Blocks And Steals Than Any Of The Last 9 DPOY Winners

Victor Wembanyama is making history as arguably the greatest rookie defender the NBA has ever seen. Despite being a rookie, the 7’4″ French phenom has already outperformed the last nine DPOY winners statistically, with 13 games still left to play. 

2023-24 Victor Wembanyama: 213 Blocks, 77 Steals, 290 Total 

2022-23 Jaren Jackson Jr.: 189 Blocks, 65 Steals, 254 Total 

2021-22 Marcus Smart: 18 Blocks, 119 Steals, 137 Total

2020-21 Rudy Gobert: 190 Blocks, 40 Steals, 230 Total

2019-20 Giannis Antetokounmpo: 66 Blocks, 61 Steals, 127 Total

2018-19 Rudy Gobert: 187 Blocks, 66 Steals, 253 Total

2017-18 Rudy Gobert: 129 Blocks, 44 Steals, 173 Total

2016-17 Draymond Green: 106 Blocks, 154 Steals, 260 Total

2015-16 Kawhi Leonard: 71 Blocks, 128 Steals, 199 Total

2014-15 Kawhi Leonard: 48 Blocks, 148 Steals, 196 Total

2013-14 Joakim Noah: 121 Blocks, 99 Steals, 220 Total

Wembanyama is a defensive monster and is already cementing his name as a perennial DPOY finalist and likely multi-time winner. Everyone knows Wembanyama has GOAT potential, but this level of proficiency means he could one day be remembered as the greatest defender in NBA history. 

He’s achieved these stats while playing on a minutes restriction and missing occasional games to avoid injury. Despite these numbers, Wembanyama’s chance of winning Defensive Player of the Year is very slim because of the Spurs’ 15-54 record this season. The second the Spurs become a winning franchise again, Wembanyama can win multiple DPOYs. 

Should Victor Wembanyama Win DPOY Over Rudy Gobert This Season?

The DPOY race seems to be all but settled this season, with most people expecting Rudy Gobert to win his fourth DPOY title at the end of the regular season. Gobert has led the Wolves to the best defense in the NBA as the franchise is also competing for the No. 1 seed in the West. It’s unlikely they’ll earn the seed with Karl-Anthony Towns being unavailable, but Gobert has solidified his status as one of the greatest defenders in league history. 

Gobert has 135 blocks and 40 steals this season, though his defensive impact goes beyond numbers. We haven’t seen a player alter shots inside the paint like Gobert, at least until Wembanyama was drafted this season. Wemby’s incredible eight-foot wingspan is making even the mid-range inaccessible to offensive players, and he tends to hold up better on the perimeter than the slower Gobert.

Wemby has already made it clear that this year will be his French countrymen’s last year as DPOY, as he intends to make the award his in the future

“I know that Rudy (Gobert) has a very good chance of winning it this year, and it would be deserved. Let him win it now because after that it’s no longer his turn.” 

Wemby has conceded the race to Gobert, understanding the value of winning impact. With all the hypotheticals around Wemby coming true in his rookie season, the league will wait in terrified anticipation to see what he can achieve in the coming years.

Related: Kyrie Irving On Victor Wembanyama: “He Has All The Tools To Be Named Defensive Player Of The Year”

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