Jaren Jackson Jr. is your 2023 Defensive Player of the Year. The Memphis Grizzlies big man beat out strong competition from Cleveland Cavaliers center Evan Mobley and Milwaukee Bucks stopper Brook Lopez for the highly coveted award.
Of course JJJ’s win didn’t really come as a surprise. While Mobley and Lopez both had strong cases, it’s just hard to ignore Jackson’s defensive impact on the Grizzlies. With him anchoring the defense, Memphis recorded the third-best defensive rating in the NBA throughout the 2022-23 season.
Memphis Grizzlies C/F Jaren Jackson Jr. has won the 2022-23 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) April 17, 2023
Jackson is also the NBA’s leader in blocks per game with 3.0, and he’s just four behind Lopez (193) for total blocks with 189. As we stated earlier, it’s hard to compare JJJ’s defensive impact to the other finalists since he’s in a class of his own.
In the Grizzlies’ first 14 games at the start of the season, when Jackson. was out, the Grizzlies rank no. 20 in the NBA on defense. Since his return, however, the team has transformed into one of the best defensive units in the league. He surely blocked a lot of shots, but he did more than just that as he helped alter shots with his intimidating presence alone.
Memphis finished second in the West with a 51-31 record, and there’s no denying that Jackson is a huge reason for that. Without him, it’s hard to imagine the Grizzlies even competing for the top seed in the conference.
Credit should be given to both Evan Mobley and Brook Lopez for bringing some intense competition for DPOY. In the end, though, Jaren Jackson Jr. was just too dominant defensively.
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