Serge Ibaka is exactly the type of player who would have won Defensive Player of the Year in previous seasons. He led the league in blocks per game, and a high mark in that stat is often a precursor to winning the award.
But, as voters have smartly considered more factors than basic stats like blocks per game, Marc Gasol will reportedly win.
That didn’t sit right with one of Ibaka’s teammates, Kendrick Perkins:
I’m not hating but the NBA just give awards away. Serge don’t get defensive player of the year. That don’t make any sense. SMMFH
Ibaka is a good defensive player, but it’s difficult to build a case he’s better than Gasol.
The Thunder’s defensive rating was essentially the same with Ibaka on the court (99.0) as him off (99.5). The Grizzlies, on the other hand, sunk from sub-Ibaka levels without Gasol (102.2) to better-than-Ibaka heights with Gasol (95.4).
Individually, Ibaka ranked 196th in points allowed per play, according to MySynergySports. Gasol ranked 29th.
Those numbers can be very noisy, but one type of play that tends to more accurately reflect true production, post-ups, also gave a big advantage to Gasol – 21st to 128th.
Plus, Gasol played 35 minutes per game to Ibaka’s 31, giving his team many more possessions with a high-end defensive player on the floor. That matters.
The Nets have been without a general manager since January 10, when Billy King stepped down coinciding with the firing of head coach Lionel Hollins. Since then, a few names have come up in rumors about their search, including Danny Ferry, who appears to be out of the running. But there may be a new GM in place soon.
Via Tim Bontemps of the Washington Post:
Not that the Nets will be able to do much at the deadline, since they don’t really have a lot to trade that will be of interest to other teams, and at 13-38 they’re already essentially out of playoff contention. But having a GM in place will allow them to get a head start on planning for the offseason, which will include free agency, hiring a new coach, scouting for the draft … actually, forget that last part.
The Spurs beat the Mavericks by 26 points on Friday night, a game all of the Dallas players would love to forget. But there was a funny moment for rookie big man Salah Mejri: after a dunk, he appeared to yell something at the San Antonio bench. Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan were completely nonplussed.
For what it’s worth, Mejri later tweeted that he wasn’t intending to be disrespectful.
Hassan Whiteside recorded a triple-double last night against the Hornets, and his tenth block was particularly impressive. He didn’t so much block Marvin Williams‘ layup attempt as pluck it out of the air with one hand. It almost looks like it should count as a block, rebound and steal at the same time.
The NBA world has taken notice of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In Thursday night’s home game against the Knicks on TNT, Pistons players wore warmup shirts that read “FLINT NOW,” and the organization announced a $500,000 donation towards providing clean water for residents of the town.
Former Pistons great and general basketball legend Rasheed Wallace went even further, according to a tweet from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina:
Sheed obviously has a connection to Michigan, having played in Detroit for six years (including on the 2004 title team) and serving as an assistant coach for the Pistons during the 2013-14 season. This was an incredible gesture by him for the residents of a town that has been without drinkable water for a long time.