Response to: Is Okafor or Kaminsky leading the Player of the Year race right now?
I don't remember many people caring about defense when Kevin Durant and Doug McDermott won their National Player of the Year awards, and freaking James Harden is maybe about to win MVP of the NBA. So let's stop trying to redefine things now.I think the reason people point out Okafor's defensive weakness in POY discussions is because there are 2 players that are very close offensively but one is much better defensively. That becomes an important point. It isn't that defense never matters for POY or MVP it just usually isn't so relevant.
Kevin Durant and Doug McDermott outclassed everyone else so if they were not great on defense it didn't matter they still were by far the best players.
Okafor is very good. It seems to me Kaminsky is the leading candidate by a large margin, due to his defensive prowess and offensive versatility. The issue is debatable but it doesn't seem close to me. Even if they were defensively equal it seems to me Kaminsky is deserving, though then it becomes more debatable, how valuable is a dominate post player compared to a dominate post player that also is a three point threat and great passer and ball handler. But add it the defensive part of the game and it widens the gap between them quite a bit.
Not being able to shoot free throws also matters. Okafor is still a great player but when he shoots 54% on free throws that is another strike against him (Kaminsky is making 75% - Kaminsky can be used in late game situations to handle the ball even if he will be fouled). It doesn't mean he isn't great but when another candidate for player of the year is so close in many ways but has several significant additional strengths these add up to make a big difference in finding the absolute best player of the year.
I am a Wisconsin fan so it could be my bias, I understand, but when you watch him play over the long term you appreciate how good Frank Kaminsky is all game long, every game.
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