Dallas Mavericks Defensive Player of the Game candidate: 7. Luka Doncic and the field
Scoff all you want at Luka Doncic winning this award, but the Mavericks superstar would have taken it home when they played the Hornets on Jan. 13. He had 13 rebounds, two steals, and four blocks to go along with his 34 points in the win. Luka will win the belt at some point this season.
Doncic is not the favorite to take it home by any means, but his defense is improved. Fans have seen him taking on LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and other difficult matchups more this season. Luka is doing a better job moving his feet and staying in front of even the best scorers.
The 21-year-old is also extremely competitive. Do not underrate that in this award race.
Expect Luka Doncic, Jalen Brunson, Wesley Iwundu, Josh Green, and Dwight Powell to have opportunities to win the Defensive Player of the Game belt this season. This group likely wins five times combined for the rest of the season. Doncic’s playing time gives him the edge on a few nights. The rest of the group is capable of having a standout defensive game at any moment, but all are held back by their lack of rim-protecting ability.
Next: No. 6