Kawhi “The Claw” Leonard has been named by a panel of 130 broadcasters and sportswriters the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year for the 2015-2016 season.
The 24-year-old Spurs forward, who won the award for the 2014-2015 season, is the first player since Dwight Howard to win the honor in consecutive seasons.
Leonard is the second perimeter player to win the award in consecutive seasons. Sidney Moncrief is the other, who won the award as a Milwaukee Buck guard in 1982-1983 and 1983-1984.
The Spurs were the best defensive team in the NBA this year in terms of points per game allowed. The Spurs allowed only 92.9 points per game, 3 points better than the Utah Jazz, who allowed 95.9 points per game. Per NBA.com/Stats, the Spurs’ defensive rating with Leonard on the floor was 94.9. It was 99.2 without him.
Overall, Kawhi Leonard received a total of 547 points and 84 first-place votes. Warriors forward Draymond Green landed 421 votes and 44 first-place votes to finish in second place while Heat center Hassan Whiteside finished 3rd with 83 points and two first-place votes.
Per NBA.com/Stats, when guarded by Leonard, players only shot 39% from the floor. On three-point field goals the offensive player shot 33%, and just 41% on two-point field goals. The Claw also held opponents to 35% shooting from greater than 15 feet.
Leonard lead the Spurs to a 67-15 record which was remarkably good for 2nd second in the Western Conference behind the historic Golden State Warriors. He was a first-time all-star that averaged 21.2 points and 2.6 assists per game while ranking 12th in the NBA in steals with a 1.7 per contest.
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