The NBA announced this year’s All-Defensive first and second teams today. As always, with these types of awards, there were quite a few snubs, surprises and flat-out ridiculous votes. The Defensive Player of the Year award is voted by the media, whereas the All-Defensive teams are decided by the 30 head coaches in the league. Contrast is to be expected.
Here are some general observations on the teams.
- It was the second straight year the Defensive Player of the Year failed to make the All-Defensive first team (Tyson Chandler last year, Marc Gasol this year). Instead, Chandler made the first team this season, despite being bothered by injuries through the majority of the season, and not being nearly as dominant defensively as he was last year.
- Andre Iguodala, widely regarded as one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, didn’t make either of the teams. He finished with 16 points in total. Instead, Chris Paul, Tony Allen, Avery Bradley and Mike Conley occupy the guard spots. With so many great perimeter defenders to choose from, it might be hard to leave any of those guys out, but Paul hardly deserves a first team nomination.
- Marc Gasol had only 12 points. If not for a first team tie between Chandler and Joakim Noah, Gasol would not even have made the second team. Actually, Gasol’s 12 points should not even have been enough for the second team either way, as Larry Sanders had 16 points. Despite playing center for practically the whole year, Sanders was for some reason listed as a forward, sparing Gasol his spot.
- Mike James got a first team vote. Who? Exactly. Either someone was having a laugh with this, or just made a serious error and misspelled LeBron. We’ll go with the latter.
- As Mike Prada of SB Nation pointed out, both the Atlanta Hawks (10th) and Washington Wizards (5th) boasted top-10 defenses in the NBA, yet neither had a single point.
- While Paul George made the second team, Roy Hibbert, who has been as good as any center in the NBA on the defensive end this year, had only 6 points.
- Kawhi Leonard had just one first team vote and finished with 2 points.
- While it took Iman Shumpert some time to become his former self coming off an ACL tear, you would still expect him to have more than 1 point.
- LeBron James continued his All-Defensive first team streak. This was his 5th straight nomination.
Players who got too many points: Serge Ibaka (46), Tyson Chandler (24), Chris Paul (37), Kobe Bryant (6), Mike James (2), Kenneth Faried (4).
Players who should have had more points: Marc Gasol (12), Andre Iguodala (16), Larry Sanders (16), Iman Shumpert (1), Kawhi Leonard (2), Roy Hibbert (6).
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