Kawhi Leonard has been named the 2015-16 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, the league announced on Monday. Appropriately, the Spurs' Leonard defended his 2014-15 award, becoming the first non-center to win back-to-back DPOYs since Dennis Rodman in the early 90s.
Kawhi is a masterful individual defender, the closest thing basketball has to a shutdown corner. Ask Lance Stephenson.
Leonard and Warriors' Draymond Green were seen as the top candidates for the award throughout the season. Leonard ended up receiving nearly twice as many first-place votes as Green, per the NBA's results. The only other player to receive any first-place votes was Miami's Hassan Whiteside, who led the NBA in blocks. Whiteside finished a distant third in full balloting, followed by DeAndre Jordan and Paul Millsap.
Next year, Leonard will attempt to become the second player to win three straight DPOY awards, following Dwight Howard. Like Leonard, Howard won his first two DPOY at age 23. Leonard made his first All-Star team this season, and is expected to finish high in MVP balloting. He also has a Finals MVP on his résumé.