Sports Now

Kawhi Leonard edges Draymond Green for NBA defensive player of year

Kawhi Leonard gets more voting points than Draymond Green, who has more first-place votes

Kawhi Leonard missed 18 games this season due to a torn ligament in his right hand. But there's no denying the impact he had with the San Antonio Spurs.

So much so that Leonard was named the NBA defensive player of the year on Thursday.

The voting was extremely close. Leonard edged Golden State forward Draymond Green in total points, 333-317, even though Green had more first-place votes, 45-37, from the 129 sportswriters and broadcasters who decide on the award.

Clippers center DeAndre Jordan finished third with 261 points, including 32 first-place votes.

Leonard led the league in steals per game with 2.3, becoming just the sixth forward to do so since the NBA starting keeping track of the stat 42 years ago, to go with 7.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks.

He helped the Spurs limit opponents to 99.6 points allowed per 100 possessions, the third best in the league this season. Plus, San Antonio was 7-8 during his extended absence in December and January, before going on a 10-3 run upon his return.

Green made a strong case for himself as well, averaging 1.6 steals, 1.3 blocks and 8.2 rebounds for the Warriors, who won a league-best 67 games.

Twitter: @chewkiii

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE

9:36 a.m.: This post has been updated with voting results for DeAndre Jordan.

This post was originally published at 8:45 a.m.

63°