The Celtics were not a very good defensive team for much of the year (in particular, the last half). So this isn't a very glamorous award on this team. With that said, it is important to appreciate the defense that we did see. Here's a look at who our panel thought was the best defender this year.
Avery Bradley. Bradley is simply the squad's best defender and played his usual harassing defense on the perimeter this season for the Celtics. That Boston was able to perform at an above-average level on defense this year under Brad Stevens without any type of viable rim protector has to be encouraging for the Celtics moving forward. Bradley's defense on the perimeter was a big part of their overall defensive success.
Kris Humphries. For me, it's a matter of consistency. He may not be the best one-on-one defender and he's undersized at 6'9, but he was almost always there to make the right rotation and his defensive rebounding rate ranks him 29th in the league (for players that averaged at least 20 minutes a game). That puts him ahead of guys like Zach Randolph, Anthony Davis, Greg Monroe, David Lee, Paul Millsap, Blake Griffin, and Al Horford. Bring this guy back, Danny.
Although most of the talk about defense revolves around Avery Bradley, I honestly think Kris Humphries was the DPOY.
Avery Bradley, he is the C's best defensive player period and deserves the award above anyone else.
Brandon Bass: Contrarily to popular belief, Brandon Bass is actually a pretty good all-around player. He came to Boston has an average defender, but is arguably now a great one. Bass might accumulate many blocks and steals, and he's an average r but he plays solid team defense and is a productive man-to-man defender. On a per-minute basis, Kris Humphries or Avery Bradley would probably win this award, but Bass has been an iron man, playing close to 28 minutes per game in all 80 games so far this season.
The Celtics don't really have any outstanding defenders on their roster and that much is obvious. Therefore, by default, Kris Humphries gets Defensive Player of the Year.
Of the guys on the team that have played at least 40 games and consistent minutes, Humphries has the best defensive rating as he's allowing 104 points per 100 possessions. He also leads the team in blocks with just shy of one per game. These aren't stellar by any means but he's been extremely active defensively this year and hasn't given up on the possession until Boston has secured the rebound.
Like I said, there hasn't been any standout defenders on this year's Celtics roster but Humphries is arguably the best they have.
I'm still an Avery Bradley guy. I think he wasn't as impressive this year on defense than he has been in the past, but a lot of factors led to that. First, obviously he didn't have KG backing him up. Second, in the past he was allowed to hound individuals and be an on-the-ball pest. Now he was focusing more on being a better team defender and thinking through where everyone was on the court. Did I mention that Garnett wasn't behind him anymore? His absence (as expected) makes everyone look a notch less effective.
All that said, Bradley still eats and breathes defense. He's improved his offensive game, but he knows where his bread and butter is. Give him a rim protector and a few more defensive minded teammates and I think he'll shine brightly again.