NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds: Does Bam Adebayo Have Sleeper Value?
Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat.
With the NBA season tipping off this week, there’s still time to place futures bets while they have the most value, especially if you aren’t betting on a favorite.
One of those awards is Defensive Player of the Year where the player I think has a lot of value, Bam Adebayo, is sitting seventh on the oddsboard.
Adebayo has a rare combination of size, explosiveness, and foot speed that makes him an ideal big in today’s NBA. He has the adequate size needed to mash inside with bigs, and after putting on 15 pounds of lean muscle this offseason to get to 260 pounds, he should be better inside this season.
While Adebayo is slightly shorter than his peers at the center position, he makes up for that with his explosiveness — for my money he is as explosive as anyone not named Giannis Antetokounmpo.
His explosiveness not only allows him to grab rebounds and battle with other bigs inside, but pairing this with his incredible foot speed allows him to cover ground as well as anyone in the NBA while also moving laterally as well as any big in the league — just ask Jayson Tatum.
ONE YEAR AGO TODAY 🔥
Adebayo’s game saving block on Tatum happened…time flies. pic.twitter.com/4RMqBl8dVP
— 𝙃𝙀𝘼𝙏 𝙉𝘼𝙏𝙄𝙊𝙉 (@HeatvsHaters) September 15, 2021
The Heat’s New Personnel
The Heat’s acquisitions of Kyle Lowry and P.J. Tucker are also significant. Lowry gives the Heat a legitimate defender at the point of attack, something they haven’t had in a while as they relied on Kendrick Nunn, Goran Dragic, and Tyler Herro at the point for most of last season.
This means that instead of over-switching like they had to do to cover up those players’ defensive limitations, the Heat should play a drop scheme more often this season. This is significant because it will allow Adebayo to play closer to the rim where he can rack up more counting stats like rebounds and blocks.
Lowry and Tucker both are sturdily built defenders who can guard bigger players, so having those two along with Adebayo and Jimmy Butler on the court should make this a top-five defense in the league and the Heat’s most versatile unit in years.
Stock Down for the Top DPOY Competition
The race has two players listed at +600 or shorter: Rudy Gobert at +340 and Ben Simmons at +400. Both players have lost some respect around the league since the end of the regular season.
Gobert may be the best drop defender in the history of the league, but the playoffs showed once again that the best teams win in a variety of ways. Terance Mann and the Clippers’ five-out offense exposed Gobert’s inability to be a difference maker when he is stuck on the perimeter. He doesn’t have the foot speed to cover ball handlers and quicker wings.
Antetokounmpo put up some impressive regular season stats last season, but after flaming out of the playoffs early in consecutive seasons where he won the MVP award, the media was less-inclined to give him that award for a third straight year last season.
With Gobert having won the award three of the past four seasons, including last season, I can see the media’s narrative machine working in a similar way against Gobert this season as it did for Antetokounmpo last season (by the way, our Brandon Anderson makes a great case for why you should bet Antetokounmpo for MVP this season).
Ben Simmons has had a well-documented public fallout with the 76ers, and there seems to be more concerning signs about him each day. Recently it came out that he isn’t in game shape and may not play in the season opener, and it seems that he has quit on this season before it’s even started.
While the 76ers didn’t want to trade him over the offseason with his trade value at a relative low point, it feels like Simmons will inevitably be traded at some point this season.
If he gets traded, he will likely be on a team with a much worse team defense than the 76ers, and that would hurt his chances. If he stays in Philadelphia, I’m not sure how much he will play and be motivated, and I dislike the value of his odds either way.
How to Bet DPOY
I believe Adebayo, Gobert and Simmons are in a tier of their own as far as defenders who can win, but Adebayo has by far the longest odds at +1400. I love the value of this bet and believe that Gobert is by far his biggest competition.
I recommend betting one unit on Adebayo at +1400 on DraftKings and a half unit on Gobert at +340. I expect Adebayo’s odds to shorten significantly as the season gets underway while Gobert’s value won’t decrease as steeply and there will be further opportunities to bet him at similar numbers as the season unfolds.