He’s said it twice, and he’ll likely say it again.
Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen can be the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year.
“I’ve made this point before,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff told the media in a Monday evening press conference. “(Jarrett Allen) is a DPOY-caliber player.
“If you take that away, it’ll obviously have an impact on us. When he’s on the floor, we’re a different team.”
In a 114-102 Cavs win against the Atlanta Hawks, the 24-year-old brought down 11 defensive rebounds, tipped away a key turnover in the final seconds of the first half against guard Trae Young and blocked forward John Collins as he went up for a second-chance shot after center Clint Capela missed a hook shot over Jarrett Allen.
When the Cavs pair him with 7-foot forward Evan Mobley, who added on a block of his own along with seven defensive rebounds, finding easy looks and building a consistent rhythm in the paint can become an even more difficult challenge for some of the tougher teams in the Eastern Conference.
“They’re hard to score on in the paint,” J.B. Bickerstaff said. “(Evan Mobley) is an All-Defensive Team player himself.
“We’re extremely fortunate to have two guys who can defend the way they can defend. When they’re working together, you’re hard-pressed to find easy looks out there.”
The NBA placed Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo in first place and Evan Mobley at ninth in its most recent DPOY ladder, but showed no signs of ranking Jarrett Allen. No Cavaliers player has ever won the honor of the NBA’s DPOY despite Central Division standouts making up 30% of the 40 total selections. Giannis Antetokounmpo and former Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah were the last two division rivals to earn the title in the past decade.
The Cavaliers will tip off against the Portland Trail Blazers at 7 p.m. EST this Wednesday at Rocket Mortgage Arena. The game will be broadcasted on Bally Sports Ohio.