Indiana Pacers v Chicago Bulls

Joakim Noah runs away with Defensive Player of the Year


I expected a close Defensive Player of the Year race that would go to Joakim Noah over Roy Hibbert.

I was half right.

Noah won the award over Hibbert, but the race was not close.

The Bulls center took 100 of 125 first-place votes to just eight each for Hibbert and DeAndre Jordan. Noah’s 555 total points were as many as the next 12 closest finishers combined. Nobody has won this award in such a rout since Dwight Howard in 2011.

Here are the full results with each players first-place, second-place and third-place votes and total points:

  • Joakim Noah (Chicago): 100-17-4-555
  • Roy Hibbert (Indiana): 8-36-18-166
  • DeAndre Jordan (L.A. Clippers): 8-23-12-121
  • Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City): 2-17-18-79
  • Andre Iguodala (Golden State): 1-7-21-47
  • LeBron James (Miami): 2-5-6-31
  • Paul George (Indiana): 0-5-15-30
  • Anthony Davis (New Orleans): 1-4-8-25
  • Dwight Howard (Houston): 1-3-11-25
  • Andrew Bogut (Golden State): 1-1-3-11
  • Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio): 0-3-0-9
  • P.J. Tucker (Phoenix): 1-0-1-6
  • Tim Duncan (San Antonio): 0-1-2-5
  • Chris Paul (L.A. Clippers): 0-1-2-5
  • Trevor Ariza (Washington): 0-1-1-4
  • Marc Gasol (Memphis): 0-1-1-4
  • Patrick Beverley (Houston): 0-0-2-2

I was a bit surprised Jordan came so close to Hibbert. I guess Doc Rivers’ campaigning paid off – thought not as much as Jordan’s hard work to improve defensively.

Iguodala deserved to be higher, but again, Ibaka received a groundswell of support after losing to Marc Gasol last season, and I suspect that carried into this year.

LeBron got votes on reputation, and funny enough for a second-year player, so did Anthony Davis. Davis built a sterling defensive reputation at Kentucky, but in the NBA, his offense has come much more quickly. He has the tools to deserve consideration for this award down the road, but he’s not that yet.

For the most part, this is a pretty solid list  that shows most voters have their act together. However, the two lowest-ranked players to get first-place votes – P.J. Tucker and Andrew Bogut – received the votes from media members in their local markets. That doesn’t make Tucker and Bogut wrong choices, but it at least opens questions about bias.

Overall, there are no truly egregious choices (Tucker’s first-place vote comes closest) – including Noah as the award winner.

Kevin Love unsure about opening-night return

Kevin Love
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He’s back in practice with the Cavaliers, but there’s still no clarity on whether Kevin Love will be available for the season opener. Love had shoulder surgery in April after suffering a torn labrum in Game 4 of the Cavs’ first-round series against the Celtics, and doctors initially gave him a timetable of four to six months for a return. The six-month end of that is right around opening night (October 27), but Love still doesn’t know whether he’ll be able to play against the Bulls—although he is hopeful.

Via the Sporting News‘ Sean Deveney:

“I feel pretty good,” Love told Sporting News. “As far as the opener goes, I am not completely sure. I’ll probably get with the doctors and see what they have to say. I know that my six-month post-op is coming up here pretty fast. As far as getting the strength back, getting the range of motion, I feel pretty good, so I am looking forward to getting into some more contact, getting into a rhythm and getting out there as quickly as I can.”

Love has been cleared for 3-on-3 practices, but not yet for 5-on-5. If it were up to him, he’d be back on the court, but he understands he needs to follow the rehab protocol for his injury.

“(Six months is) just a ballpark figure that has generally been thrown out there by anybody who has talked about the rehab process for this kind of an injury,” Love said. “I like to think that I am ahead of the game, but there’s different tests and the due diligence that the doctor will go through and the training staff will go through. So all I can do is go out there every day and attack my rehab and hopefully I will be able to go out there and help these guys as soon as possible.”

At the very least, the Cavs will be without Kyrie Irving (still recovering from knee surgery) and Iman Shumpert (out up to three months with a wrist injury), and probably Tristan Thompson too, unless his contract situation changes unexpectedly. So having Love available would be some much-needed good news. But it’s more important that Love (and everyone else) is healthy for the playoffs. If he’s not ready to play, there’s no need to rush back for an October game.

Greg Smith fails physical, will not join Pelicans

Greg Smith
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With both starter Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca out injured for the rest of the preseason (and maybe a little longer), the Pelicans are looking for a center to put next to Anthony Davis for a stretch. That could include a handful of regular season games.

Greg Smith was going to be that man, but the 24-year-old failed his physical, reports the Times-Picayune.

The New Orleans Pelicans were set to sign power forward Greg Smith, but sources said Friday night that he failed his physical examination and will not be joining the team.

And so the search goes on.

The problem is, there are not quality big men still out there on the market, there is a limited supply and just about anyone worth having is spoken for. A few with non-guaranteed contracts may be waived as we get closer to the end of training camps, but that is likely a couple of weeks away.

With both Asik and Ajinca expected back in a few weeks, it’s not worth making a trade or some big move to bring in a center, the Pelicans are just going to have to live with what is out there.