There wasn’t much consensus among All-Defensive voters, except for this.
Kawhi Leonard is really good.
The back-to-back reigning Defensive Player of the Year was the only player to appear on every ballot, and he made the first team on all 130. He leads a pretty well-selected group:
- G: Avery Bradley, Boston (62-25-149)
- G: Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers (59-30-148)
- F: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio (130-0-260)
- F: Draymond Green, Golden State (123-5-251)
- C: DeAndre Jordan, L.A. Clippers (47-43-137)
- G: Tony Allen, Memphis (44-33-121)
- G: Jimmy Butler, Chicago (18-26-62)
- F: Paul Millsap, Atlanta (11-75-97)
- F: Paul George, Indiana (5-38-48)
- C: Hassan Whiteside, Miami (44-38-126)
Other players receiving votes, with point totals (First Team votes in parentheses): Rudy Gobert, Utah, 64 (17); Klay Thompson, Golden State, 49 (16); Jae Crowder, Boston, 47 (3); LeBron James, Cleveland, 43 (5); Kyle Lowry, Toronto, 43 (9); Danny Green, San Antonio, 39 (9); Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City, 35 (12); Tim Duncan, San Antonio, 33 (5); Ricky Rubio, Minnesota, 30 (6); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit, 27 (3); Anthony Davis, New Orleans, 24 (3); Andre Drummond, Detroit, 14 (5); Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City, 14 (1); Stephen Curry, Golden State, 13 (3); Andre Iguodala, Golden State, 13 (3); Patrick Beverley, Houston, 11 (1); Al Horford, Atlanta, 7 (1); Marcus Smart, Boston, 7 (2); John Wall, Washington, 6; Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee, 3; Trevor Ariza, Houston, 3; Kent Bazemore, Atlanta, 3; Andrew Bogut, Golden State, 3 (1); DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento, 3 (1); Nicolas Batum, Charlotte, 2; Victor Oladipo, Orlando, 2 (1); LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio, 1; Harrison Barnes, Golden State, 1; Bismack Biyombo, Toronto, 1; Mike Conley, Memphis, 1; Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City, 1; Derrick Favors, Utah, 1; George Hill, Indiana, 1; Wesley Matthews, Dallas, 1; Luc Mbah a Moute, Los Angeles Clippers; Kristaps Porzingis, New York, 1; Andre Roberson, Oklahoma City, 1; Mike Scott, Atlanta, 1; Dwyane Wade, Miami, 1
- No major gripes about the first or seconds teams. The voters did pretty well.
- I rated Tony Allen as having the best defensive season by a guard by pretty wide margin. Paul and Bradley had better PR, though. Paul, who has made the first team five straight years, is a mainstay. Bradley benefited from Damian Lillard calling him the NBA’s best perimeter defender, which might overstate Bradley’s admittedly impressive ability to cover his man but definitely ignores other facets of defense (particularly rebounding).
- I’m quibbling, tough. Paul and Bradley are very good defenders. This is more about Allen than them. And I’ll miss Allen shouting “First team All-Defense!”
- Russell Westbrook is by far the most overrated player in this voting. There’s a wide gulf between his defensive ability and defensive output.
- Strangest vote-getter? Mike Scott.