Evan Mobley is definitely the first player that comes to mind when you think of outsider picks to win this award. If you ask me, he has the potential to win multiple Defensive Player of the Year awards in the foreseeable future, but the question remains – is he ready heading into only his 2nd full season as an NBA player? The motivation will definitely be there after the Cavaliers missed out on the playoffs by losing both play-in tournament games. Mobley has the length to deal with most 7-footers we have in the NBA, plus he is also capable of stepping out on the perimeter and slowing down the opponents best player if needed. All in all, together with Jarrett Allen down low I think the Cavaliers will have one of the best defensive numbers this season, especially after they added Donovan Mitchell which should in theory also take some of the offensive pressure off of Mobley allowing him to fully focus on becoming an elite defender this season.
Although he isn't even in the Top 10 favorites according to the bookmakers, I think Matisse Thybulle also deserves a shout at +6500 odds to win the DPOY award. Yes, his role was diminished during the playoffs last season, but I think Thybulle has the opportunity to turn things around if he is given the right opportunity. In a lot of ways he reminds me of Mikal Bridges of the Phoenix Suns – his reputation around the league is as one of the best defensive wings capable of stopping anyone on a given night. It's also worth mentioning that Sixers’ president Daryl Morey has been making a case for him on social media to win the DPOY for quite some time now, so why not consider him as a dark horse to win the award?