Jaren Jackson Jr. has received his Defensive Player of the Year trophy on court prior to Game 2 of the Memphis Grizzlies playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Jackson Jr. was named DPOY on Monday, beating out Evan Mobley of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brook Lopez of the Milwaukee Bucks. His win didn’t come as a surprise; he was the anchor of the third rated defense in the NBA, the same defense which rated 20th in his absence over the first 14 games of the season.
Jaren Jackson Jr. also averaged a huge 3.0 blocks per game over the course of the regular season, up from an already impressive 2.3 last year.
The trophy was given to him, somewhat ironically, after a Game 1 in which a large part of his impact came at the offensive end of the floor. In the Grizzlies’ loss, Jackson Jr shot 13-21 from the field en route to 31 points, while he also dished out four assists. Defensively, he did also pick up a block and two assists, but as is always the case, his measure at that end of the floor was measured in more than just traditional statistics.
After receiving the trophy, Jackson Jr. quickly reminded everyone why he received it, stuffing an Anthony Davis layup within the first couple of minutes of the game. In what looms as a tight first round playoff series, Jackson Jr. will play a key role in anchoring the Grizzlies defense against the might of Anthony Davis, LeBron James and the Lakers.
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