Has an NBA award winner ever received more insinuation he didn’t deserve the honor than Marc Gasol, who won Defensive Player of the Year this season?
Manu Ginobili didn’t go as far as Kendrick Perkins or Dwight Howard, who both said Serge Ibaka should have won the award, but Ginobili implied Duncan should have won over Gasol. Via Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News:
“What I know is that when we have him we are one thing and when we don’t we are another thing,” he said. “It is because of his presence, his smartness, his deflections, being in position, things like that.”
Ginobili is correct. The Spurs allow 97.1 points per 100 possessions with Duncan on the court and 101.4 points per 100 possessions with out him, and that’s because Duncan does so many little things right.
Unlike the other objectors, Ginobili offers a solution. Via Monroe:
“It is the toughest award they give away because players don’t vote,” Ginobili said. “It’s the player that (goes) against other players who know. Sometimes the best rebounder is not the best defender; or the best in steals is not a great defender. He just gambles a lot.
“It could be (an award for players to choose), but it’s been going on for so many years. It’s not that I’m complaining, but probably we do know better than the media.”
Good for Ginobili for recognizing the nuance of defense, but in choosing someone like Gasol, the voters showed they could do that, too. Howard – whose criteria boils down to blocks = defense – showed at least one player could not.