The San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard, who became only the sixth forward to lead the NBA in steals per game since the league started tracking the statistic 42 years ago, is the recipient of the 2014-15 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, the NBA announced today. He becomes the first Spurs player to win the award since David Robinson in 1991-92.
Leonard garnered 37 first-place votes and 333 total points from a panel of 129 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. He edged the Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green, who tallied 45 first-place votes and 317 points. The Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan finished third with 261 points (32 first-place votes). Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote received.
The 6-7 Leonard averaged career highs of 2.31 steals and 5.9 defensive rebounds to help anchor a Spurs defense that held opponents under 100 points per game (97.0) for the 20th consecutive season. According to NBA.com/Stats, San Antonio ranked third in the NBA in defensive rating, allowing 99.6 points per 100 possessions. The Spurs gave up only 97.1 points per 100 possessions when Leonard was on the court, a defensive rating that would have led the league over the entire season. When Leonard was off the court, though, San Antonio permitted 102.2 points per 100 possessions, a league-average defensive rating.
via NBA press release
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