Anthony Davis believes he should already have a Defensive Player of the Year in his trophy case.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ all-world big man is once again a leading candidate for the award, spearheading on the NBA’s stingiest defenses this season for a 19-3 squad.
“A couple of years ago, I feel like I should have won it,” Davis told ESPN, looking back on his third-place finish in the 2017-18 season behind Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, who has now earned the honors two seasons in a row.
It was the second top-five finish of his career — he also lost out to Kawhi Leonard a couple of years prior.
“I take pride in my defense,” Davis said. “Anytime late game when guys feel like they can score on me, I take it personally and try to play without fouling and get stops for my team. In those situations, two of their best players, you want to make sure you want to stay home and do what I do best and play defense and make them take tough shots.”
Davis is trying to apply everything he saw from his defensive idols growing up — Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett — and incorporate it into his game.
“Dwight, just with this shot-blocking ability and the way he is able to control the paint on the defensive end and alter shots, and KG, how he just was tenacious on the defensive end,” Davis told ESPN. “So, put those two guys together, that’s who I try to be.”