Marc Gasol will be named Defensive Player of the Year, according to Chris Vernon of 92.9 FM ESPN in Memphis.
The Grizzlies center – who averaged 7.8 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.0 steals per game – isn’t a typical recipient of this award. Only 1987 winner Michael Cooper had lower per-game averages in all three of those primary defensive categories.*
*Yes, I’m aware rebounds include offensive rebounds, which are not a defensive statistic, but voters who care about per-game rebounding rarely distinguish between types of rebounds.
Gasol’s honor is a victory, not necessarily for better metrics, but for an attempt to better understand basketball.
Memphis, which ranked second in the NBA in defensive rating, allowed 95.4 points per 100 possessions with Gasol on the court and 102.2 points per 100 possessions with Gasol on the bench. More than those numbers, clips of Gasol’s defensive awareness were widely available via League Pass, Synergy, YouTube and other sources.
I suspect, more than ever, voters understood those numbers and saw that video.
Still, measuring individual defense is difficult, and it would be presumptuous to assume we can do it flawlessly. Maybe someday we’ll look back and wonder how these voters could be so foolish, but based on the best wisdom of the moment, Gasol is a worthy Defensive Player of the Year.
Alan Anderson had surgery last May on his left ankle to remove some bone spurs. This wasn’t seen as anything major, so the Washington Wizards signed him to a deal and are counting on him to bring some versatility and depth to their wings.
However, that same ankle has bothered him since the opening of training camp and on Tuesday the Wizards announced that he had undergone another surgery to “remove a small bony fragment in his left ankle.”
There is no timetable for his return.
The Wizards liked Anderson because of his shooting and versatility — he can play the two, three or four depending on the lineup. The Wizards are counting on a combination of Otto Porter, Jared Dudley, and Anderson to fill the void left by Paul Pierce.
But they are going to have to wait a little while for Anderson to join the party.
Kevin Garnett is as good a trash talker as there is in the NBA right now. He’s one of the games’ legendary talkers.
And he welcomed Bulls rookie Bobby Portis to the NBA in his own special way during Saturday’s Chicago/Minnesota preseason game. From Vincent Goodwill of CSNChicago.com.
Beautiful use of the Honey Nut Cheerios reference.
Hoiberg was a teammate of KG’s back in Minnesota from 2003-2005. Hoiberg did nothing but praise Garnett after the game. He’s probably good with KG pushing Portis.
Watch out for Portis this season, he’s going to show he shouldn’t have fallen so far down the board.