If DPOY had been awarded in the 1960s and 1970s, which NBA players would have won them?


Interesting question, it’s hard to know because All-Def wasn’t an award until 1969 and DPOY not an award until 1983.

So I’m going to go by defensive win shares. It’s not perfect, but it’s something I can go off of.

source:

https://www.basketball-reference.com/leaders/dws_yearly.html

1950: George Mikan
1951: George Mikan (2)
1952: George Mikan (3)
1953: George Mikan (4)
1954: George Mikan (5)
1955: Dolph Schayes
1956: Maurice Stokes
1957: Maurice Stokes (2)
1958: Bill Russell
1959: Bill Russell (2)
1960: Bill Russell (3)
1961: Bill Russell (4)
1962: Bill Russell (5)
1963: Bill Russell (6)
1964: Bill Russell (7)
1965: Bill Russell (8)
1966: Bill Russell (9)
1967: Bill Russell (10)
1968: Wilt Chamberlain, Mel Daniels (ABA)
1969: Bill Russell (11), Trooper Washington (ABA)
1970: Willis Reed, Spencer Haywood (ABA)
1971: Elvin Hayes, Gerald Govan (ABA)
1972: Wilt Chamberlain (2), Artis Gilmore (ABA)
1973: Dave Cowens, Artis Gilmore (ABA) (2)
1974: Elvin Hayes (2), Artis Gilmore (ABA) (3)
1975: Elvin Hayes (3), Artis Gilmore (ABA) (4)
1976: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Julius Erving (ABA)
1977: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2)
1978: Truck Robinson
1979: Jack Sikma
1980: Larry Bird
1981: Larry Bird (2)
1982: Jack Sikma (2)

So.. going by DWS, these would be the DPOY winners per year. BIll Russell would have a whopping 11 DPOYs to match his 11 rings. George Mikan would have 5 DPOYs, Artis Gilmore would have 4 DPOYs. Elvin Hayes would have 3 DPOYs. Maurice Stokes, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Jack Sikma and Larry Bird would all have 2 DPOYs. Interesting right?