Kawhi Leonard has been named the Defensive Player of the Year for the second consecutive year in a row.
Whilst most people wouldn't dare dispute that the San Antonio Spurs forward is in the top three defenders in the league, it appears many members of the Golden State Warriors would dispute he is the very best.
Only a few hours after the announcement on Monday morning, Klay Thompson weighed in on the topic and insisted he was shocked that his teammate, Draymond Green, wasn't walking away with the award this year.
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“We all think it’s a snub,” Thompson said. "Just because he’s such a big part of our defence, him being able to guard every position. And as our background communicator, him and (center Andrew Bogut), he’s so good at rebounding and leading the break.
“It was a shock to all of us. But what can we do?”
Nothing, is the answer. Green has undoubtedly had a stellar campaign this year and he has become the franchise record holder for triple-doubles for the Warriors, which is a testament to his effect across the board.
Green did finish 26th in steals during the regular season, some 14 places below Leonard. However, when it came to blocks, the Warriors man weighed in at 22nd and 18 spots ahead of his Spurs counterpart.
The 26-year-old Green also ranked 14th in rebounds this season, more than holding his own against the tall trees in the paint. Leonard finished 49th in that category, so does Green have a valid case here?
However the award is calculated or calibrated, Green has appeared to take it all in good stride. The Golden State number 23 predicted this outcome and is comfortable with it.
“It didn’t play out differently than I expected,” Green said. “I expected one of us to get it. He got it. He’s a great defender.
“It’s not really that big of a deal, like something I didn’t see happening. That’s a very obvious scenario, so I wasn’t necessarily surprised.”
Both of the player's respective sides are now locked in their own playoff battles as they look to meet in the Western Conference Finals.
The Warriors currently lead the Houston Rockets 2-0 after easily coming out on top in the opening home legs of their series, even without the injured Stephen Curry.
The Spurs have also managed to get off to a flying start by registering two blowout wins over an injury-plagued Memphis Grizzlies. That series looks like it could be a sweep for the second seed's as Memphis attempt to cope without superstar center Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
The prize that both men will both be more concerned about is still up for grabs and whichever man ends up with the ring will feel like the real winner.
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