In light of two competitive conference finals, the NBA has announced the two all-defensive teams. The selections are selected by a panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters.
Here is first team all-defense:
G – Jrue Holiday
This one comes as no surprise, Holiday basically confirmed his selection with his dominating defensive performance against Dame time. His blocks per game was second for guards, and 9th in steals for guards.
He held Lillard to 18 points and a field goal percentage of 35% and three-point percentage of 30%. To hold a top point guard to these statistics is inconceivable but it is just a reminder who the most underrated player in the NBA is.
G – Victor Oladipo
The most improved player is also first team all-defense. Oladipo had a career high in steals with 177, leading the NBA by a wide margin. He was third in blocks for guards with 0.8 and his defensive rating was an unbelievable 104.
His next award might be defensive play of the year.
F – Robert Covington
Covington struggled against the more talented Tatum in the playoffs but this selection is a reminder that it isn’t a playoff selection. Tatum dominated against Covington producing 20 points each game and shooting 50% 4 out of 5 games.
The former D-Leaguer’s defensive rating was 5th, steal percentage 6th, and defensive win shares 2nd. Overall, he held opponents to 46.0% from the field and 36.5% from three.
A lot of people are averse to RoCo making the first team. Remember that this is a regular season award.
F – Anthony Davis
This is uncharted territory for The Brow, making his debut on the all-defensive first team. It was a long time coming, as this was his 2nd year leading the league in blocks, with a monstrous 193 swats. His defensive rating was 102, which is his third best rating.
The scariest thing about Davis isn’t his brow, but his defense.
C – Rudy Gobert
One word. Wingspan.
He has revolutionized the game and transformed it into an arms game. His wingspan is an insane 7’9” and is the exemplary model for long-armed freaks in this upcoming draft, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Mo Bamba.
His defensive box plus/minus was good for 2nd in the league. Had he not gotten hurt, he would have outpaced his defensive win shares by a large margin.
He played only 56 games, but this selection shows voters appreciating Gobert’s elongated arms contesting shots all over the court.
G – Dejounte Murray
The young rookie received his first accolade, making second team all-defense.
Per 36 minutes, he corralled a forward-like 7.2 defensive rebounds. His defensive rating was 101, first for guards.
While Kawhi Leonard is commanding Spurs’ headlines, but don’t overlook Dejounte Murray as a defensive star in the making.
G – Jimmy Butler
While KAT and Wiggins have all but demanded trades, Jimmy Butler has put his head down and played his rugged style defense.
His defensive win shares actually decreased from 1.8 to 3.8 and defensive rating bottomed out at a career-low 110. His defensive box plus/minus actually proves he’s barely above replacement level defensively at 0.1.
So is Jimmy Butler really worthy of this selection or is his name just over-associated with defense?
F – Draymond Green
How is a 6’7” 230 pound forward so good at defense? The answer is effort and lateral movement. When guys are beat off the dribble, Draymond will appear out of thin air on the help-side and block shots at the rim.
His defensive rating shot up to 105 this season, as compared to last season when it was a meager 99. His defensive win shares faltered from 5.4 to 3.4 and steal and block percentage decreased.
Yet he still ranked as one of the best defenders in the league. And that goes to show how good Draymond Green has been and still is.
F – Al Horford
Al Horford has been the stalwart for the best defensive team in the NBA. With star wing defender going down with an injury on day one and underrated guard defender, Kyrie, falling mid-season, Boston was expected to lose early in the playoffs.
They did just the opposite and became the playoff’s best defense. The only consistent piece has been Al Horford. And he should get all the credit.
C – Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid’s poor defensive showing against Al Horford was disappointing for Philadelphians but his performance in the regular season brought back Hakeem Olajuwon flashbacks.
The Process was 10th in the NBA in blocks, 7th in block percentage, 3rd in defensive rating, and 7th in boards. I would say the stats back up a selection on the defensive second team for a legitimate superstar.