DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR: PUSH
Players receiving votes: Tim Duncan (1), Tony Allen (1), Marc Gasol (1), Roy Hibbert (1), Lebron James (1)
– See description of each vote below –
Fern Rea: Tony Allen
The post has been de-emphasized in today’s game making perimeter defense more important. There isn’t a better perimeter defender in today’s game than Tony Allen. He has the strength to guard larger players in the post, but also has the footwork to guard quicker players outside. He is the heart and soul of the Memphis perimeter defense which ranks first in the NBA in opponents points per game at 89.5 and 3rd in opponents field field goal percentage at 43.7. Per Synergy Sports, Allen gives up 0.77 points per possession and allows the man he’s guarding to shoots just 33.9 percent from the field – lower than Lebron James, Paul George and Andre Iguodala or any other notable defender in the league. It is time to recognize a guard as a DPOY again.
Caleb Cottrell: Marc Gasol
This one is tough for me because it could go a number of ways. Tony Allen, LeBron James, Joakim Noah, Tim Duncan, Roy Hibbert and Larry Sanders are all deserving. Marc Gasol seems the most deserving, however. Not only does he anchor one of the top defensive teams in the league but he communicates non-stop with his teammates, has great rotations and when he is off the court the team gives up about 7.3 more points per 100 possessions. Marc Gasol has been the best defensive player this season to me.
Skyler Gilbert: Roy Hibbert
The consensus seems to favor Marc Gasol or Tony Allen of the Grizzlies, but I’m will to go out on a limb for the defensive anchor of the only team that ranks higher defensively than Memphis. The Indiana Pacers’ big man Roy Hibbert averages 2.6 blocks per game — good enough for 4th in the NBA and bolsters a Pacers team that holds opponents to just 53.1 percent shooting in the restricted area (best in the league and about 6 percent better than league average). A large portion of which can be attributed to the towering presence of Hibbert.
Chris Shellcroft: LeBron James
With small-ball officially being the new NBA James stands out as the only man that can truly defend all 5 positions on most nights. He’s not a great defender by any means but that versatilty has me thinking it’s time for a new NBA Award: Most Valuable Defensive Player. We should just call this the “Lebron James” trophy now.
Daniel Nicks: Tim Duncan
Anytime a 36-year-old center leads his team to the league’s third best defensive efficiency and record in the league without any significant defensive help, he gets my vote. Especially when those across the paint from him are the likes of Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter and Matt Bonner. Yikes
–Continue for Sixth Man of the Year–