The league announced today that the Jordan Brand-sponsored athlete was dubbed the best defender in the NBA this season, becoming the first player who isn’t a center to win back-to-back NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors since Dennis Rodman did so with the Detroit Pistons for the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons. The 6-foot-7 forward received 84 first-place votes and 547 points from the panel of 130 voting United States and Canada sportswriters and broadcasters.
Leonard bested Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors and Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat, who finished second and third, respectively, in the voting. Green received 44 first-place votes and 421 votes, and Whiteside received two first-place votes and 83 points. According to the league, players received five points for first place votes, three points for second place votes and one point for a third place vote.
The Spurs standout hit the court in various player’s edition colorways of the Air Jordan XX9 to start the season, switching to the Air Jordan XXX after its release in February.
Leonard – a key player in the San Antonio’s franchise-best 67-15 record this season – averaged 1.8 steals and one block through the regular season, grabbing 6.8 rebounds per game – including 5.5 a game on the defensive end.