The old saying states that you need to play defense in order to win an NBA championship. And while some teams seem to forget that in today's three-point happy basketball, it's still as true as it was in the early days.

That's why having an elite defender should be at the top of every franchise's wishlist ahead of this season. Everybody can score in today's basketball, but just a handful of players can play lockdown defense.

The rules favor scorers now more than ever, which is why finding elite stoppers is more difficult by the day. With that in mind, let's take a look at the top 3 biggest candidates to earn Defensive Player of the Year honors.

NBA Rumors: Top 3 Candidates To Win DPOY

3. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo has already won this award, so it wouldn't be shocking to see him do it again. His length, strength, speed, and athleticism allow him to guard all five spots on the court with ease.

Giannis isn't asked to guard the other team's best scoring, so he gets some heat for that. However, advanced stats point him out as one of the league's finest stoppers, and he's perhaps the most switchable defender in the NBA.

2. Bam Adebayo

Bam Adebayo has been a DPOY candidate for the  past couple of years, yet it seems like voters aren't sold on his defense just yet. At least, it hasn't been enough to top the winning candidates.

But unlike most big men, Adebayo can actually hold his own in the perimeter. His lateral quickness allows him to stay in front of smalle, quicker guards, and he's a top-notch interior defender as well.

1. Rudy Gobert

Unsurprisingly, Rudy Gobert is the oddsmakers' favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year again. He's a multi-time winner and could wound up retiring with the most awards of this kind once it's all said and done.

Gobert is the best rim protector and shot-blocker in the league by a long stretch. However, the big question is whether he can find a way to stay on the court in the playoffs, as he tends to struggle when rivals stretch the floor.