2022-23 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Sleeper Picks

By Jeff Stinger

Marcus Smart finished ahead of Suns forward Mikal Bridges and three-time winner Rudy Gobert in the 2021-22 DPOY voting. The upcoming season means time to start looking at potential favorites and the 2022-23 NBA Defensive Player Of The Year sleeper picks. There will be several worthy challengers and unexpected picks in this year’s race. With that, Nitrobetting dives in and highlights the overlooked names to take the honor of being the league’s best defender in 2023.

Top Sleeper Picks for the 2022-23 NBA Defensive Player of the Year

READ MORE: 2022-23 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Sleeper Picks

Patrick Beverley

  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds: +10,000

It’s been a turbulent off-season for the former Wolves guard. He was part of a package trade with Rudy Gobert to the Utah Jazz. A month after, he was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for the duo of Stanley Johnson and Talen Horton-Tucker. With that, we expect the 34-year-old to bring plenty of defensive presence on the floor for the Purple and Gold.

Beverley ranked 21st in defensive efficiency in the 2021-22 NBA season and has a defensive rating of 108.6 in his career. Over the last five seasons, the Arkansas product allowed the second-lowest field goal percentage as the closest defender among players with 2,000 shots defended over that range. Furthermore, his opponents’ three-point shooting dropped by a significant 8.1% average when he was on the floor last season for the Timberwolves.

Gary Payton II

  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds: +10,000

Gary Payton II was instrumental in the Warriors’ run to the Championship title in the 2021-22 NBA season. He has since brought his services to the Portland Trail Blazers in the off-season. This means more playing time for the son of “The Glove”.

GP2 recorded a defensive rating of 105.3 in his career. Payton finished the previous season with a 102.6 defensive rating on a career-high 17.6 minutes per game played. The foreigner warriors guard always knew that defense would take his talent to another level. Steve Kerr utilized his expertise by making him a key part of the rotation. The 29-year-old honed his skills in the G League and is enjoying success on the big stage. With more time on the floor, Payton II is a worthy sleeper option for next season’s Defensive Player of the Year pick.

Josh Hart

  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds: +14,900

The Villanova graduate was acquired by the Portland Trail Blazers for their upcoming campaign. He spent three seasons with the New Orleans Pelicans before a late move to the Blazers in February 2022. A month after, Hart scored a career-high 44 points, eight rebounds, and six assists, on 15 of 21 shooting and six of nine from the three-point line in a nine-point victory over the Wizards.

However, most overlook his defensive contributions. The 27-year-old brings plenty of energy to this side of the floor. If he works well with the Blazers’ system, we expect his skill set to carry its weight in the upcoming season. He plates well against mismatches considering his size and exhibits solid perimeter defense on guards. In over five years of playing professional basketball, Hart amassed a defensive rating of 111.0 in his career.

Jose Alvarado

  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds: +24,900

The undrafted free agent made waves in the league soon after securing a four-year contract with the Pelicans. He gave Chris Paul a difficult time in the recent playoffs. More than that, the 24-year-old did mention that one of his goals was winning the DPOY award.

Anyone who saw the Pelicans hound the top-seeded Phoenix Suns to six games in the first round would know what he’s talking about. Alvarado came off the bench in all six games and consistently shifted the game to his favor with full-court pressure and persistent defense around veteran point guard Chris Paul. The Georgia Tech product holds a defensive rating of 109.2 in his professional career, and we do not doubt that his numbers will continue to improve as he gets more playing time.

P.J. Tucker

  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds: +25,000

Tucker is one of the few journeymen that provides consistent value to the franchises he moves to. In his previous season with the Miami Heat, the veteran power forward showcased his elite defense against the Sixers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. He was in charge of guarding James Harden and did well throughout the series.

The 2021 NBA Champion elaborated on the importance of defense in his play. He believes it takes more than just understanding what his opponents want to do. Versatility and the willingness to guard virtually every position on the floor makes him a menacing defender. Furthermore, he features a 108.8 defensive rating average in his career and a 109.5 defensive rating in his previous season with the Heat.

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*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.