LeBron James, Joakim Noah headline NBA All-Defensive team

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If you were anchoring your defense with one center in the NBA right now who would it be?

For the past few years the answer was Dwight Howard, he was the perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate (voted on by the media) and NBA All-Defensive First Team, voted on by the coaches. But if you watched the hobbled Howard this year you knew he was going to slip, as was his teammate Kobe Bryant.

Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies was the NBA Defensive Play of the Year, but the coaches put two big men ahead of him — Tyson Chandler of the Knicks and Joakim Noah of the Bulls. Those two actually tied for first team, pushing Gasol back to the second team. Clearly, the coaches and media see things a little differently.

Noah becomes the first Bull named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team since some guys named Pippen and Jordan.

By the way, if you want to know why Memphis is still playing, notice there are three Grizzlies on this list.

Here are who the coaches voted for NBA All-Defense:

FIRST TEAM:

Forward: LeBron James (Miami)
Forward: Serge Ibaka, (Oklahoma City)
Center: Tyson Chandler (New York)
Center: Joakim Noah (Chicago)
Guard: Tony Allen (Memphis)
Guard: Chris Paul (L.A. Clippers

SECOND TEAM:

Forward: Tim Duncan (San Antonio)
Forward: Paul George (Indiana)
Center: Marc Gasol (Memphis)
Guard: Avery Bradley (Boston)
Guard: Mike Conley (Memphis)

OTHER PLAYERS WHO GOT VOTES (listed with the number of points): Andre Iguodala, Denver, 16; Larry Sanders, Milwaukee, 16; Thabo Sefolosha, Oklahoma City, 15; Luol Deng, Chicago, 11; Dwight Howard, L.A. Lakers, 9; Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers 6; Roy Hibbert, Indiana, 6; Kenneth Faried, Denver, 4; Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City, 4; Shane Battier, Miami, 2; Nicolas Batum, Portland, 2; Corey Brewer, Denver, 2; George Hill, Indiana, 2; Mike James, Dallas, 2; Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio, 2; Tony Parker, San Antonio, 2; Dwyane Wade, Miami, 2; Metta World Peace, L.A. Lakers, 2; Eric Bledsoe, L.A. Clippers, 1; Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City, 1; Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia, 1; Andrei Kirilenko, Minnesota, 1; Iman Shumpert, New York, 1; David West, Indiana, 1.

Yes, Howard got more points and votes than Hibbert.

Nets: Caris LeVert dislocated foot, will return this season

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Caris LeVert‘s injury last night looked so severe, his Nets teammates cried and the Timberwolves prayed.

Thankfully, that all turned out to be an overreaction. (Or, if you believe, the compassion and prayer worked.)

Nets release:

Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert returned to New York with the team last night and was evaluated today by Nets’ Team Orthopedist Dr. Martin O’Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Following the evaluation, LeVert was diagnosed with a subtalar dislocation of the right foot.

“Fortunately, tests performed this morning revealed that there are no fractures and only moderate ligament damage,” said Dr. O’Malley. “While the optics of this injury may have appeared to be more severe, surgery will not be required. Caris will begin a period of rehabilitation with the Nets’ performance staff, following which he is expected to return to full strength and resume all basketball activities without any limitations this season.”

This is fantastic news. LeVert is one of the NBA’s up-and-comers and well-liked by nearly everyone who knows him. People all around the league wished him well in the wake of this injury.

It’s still unclear how much time LeVert will miss. A dislocated foot is a small matter only relative to the feared severity of LeVert’s injury. This will probably derail his Most Improved Player campaign.

But LeVert returning to the court this season will be a joyous occasion on its own.

PBT Podcast: Lakers’ talk with Eric Pincus (plus Butler, Carmelo news)

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Jimmy Butler is in Philadelphia.

Carmelo Anthony is in Houston, but not for much longer.

And the Lakers have Tyson Chandler and a three-game winning streak — there is never a dull moment in the NBA. Kurt Helin of NBC Sports welcomes in Eric Pincus, who covers the Lakers for Bleacher Report plus is a salary cap expert you have seen on NBA TV, to talk about it all. The pair talk about what the Sixers need to do next to capitalize on their window with Butler, are there landing spots for Carmelo Anthony, and then a deep dive on the Lakers: What is the team doing right? Does Lonzo Ball fit with LeBron James? What about Brandon Ingram? And who is the next big star the Lakers will be able to add to their mix?

We want your questions for the podcast, and your comments, email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com. As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

Report: Markelle Fultz and Drew Hanlen no longer speaking, let alone working together

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Markelle Fultz has had few more vocal backers than Drew Hanlen, who trained the 76ers guard over the offseason.

Hanlen said Fultz would be an All-Star this season if 100%. With Fultz still struggling to shoot, Hanlen said Fultz wasn’t fully healthy.

But Fultz contradicted that, calling himself generally healthy. Fultz also rebuffed Hanlen’s assertion Fultz had the yips, as Fultz stressed his problems were due to injury.

Apparently, they became even more divided.

Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype:

Hanlen brought himself plenty of fame through his work with Fultz. This moves Hanlen back closer to the anonymity of most trainers.

More importantly, it suggests Fultz needs yet another plan for fixing his shooting form.

Rumor: Lakers not signing Carmelo Anthony

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Many in Houston are convinced Carmelo Anthony is done with the Rockets.

If so, where will he play next?

Like when he was a free agent just a few months ago, speculation has centered on teams with his banana-boat buddies. Chris Paul and the Rockets already tried. But LeBron James‘ Lakers and Dwyane Wade‘s Heat seem viable.

Marc J. Spears on ESPN:

I am hearing that not the Lakers. I think the Lakers are done.

The Lakers already have scoring power forwards in Kyle Kuzma and Michael Beasley, and LeBron can obviously play that position. I’d rather have the incumbents than Anthony.

So how about Miami? Wade has been Anthony’s most outspoken backer, after all. But the Heat also have a superior offensive power forward in Kelly Olynyk, and Justise Winslow and Derrick Jones Jr. provide a fair amount of depth at the position.

Really, this is probably the wrong conversation. Maybe there is a bad team or two with a deficiency so glaring, Anthony is worth a roll of the dice. But he might just be finished as an NBA player, regardless of the fit.