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.
Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.
There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.
This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.
Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.
Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.
The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.
Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.
More than fine.
Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.
Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):
The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.
Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.
Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.
The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?
Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:
If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.
The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.
It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.