2019 PBT Awards: All-Defensive

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
15 Comments

Kurt Helin

First team

G: Marcus Smart, Celtics

G: Jrue Holiday, Pelicans

F: Paul George, Thunder

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

C: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

Second team

G: Klay Thompson, Warriors

G: Danny Green, Raptors

F: Draymond Green, Warriors

F: Paul Millsap, Nuggets

C: Joel Embiid, 76ers

There were a lot of tough choices here, such as leaving Myles Turner off the list at center. Also, while Marcus Smart was the best defensive guard in the league, there were a number of other players — Eric Bledsoe, Derrick White, Josh Richardson — who could have been in the mix.

Dan Feldman

First team

G: Marcus Smart, Celtics

G: Danny Green, Raptors

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

F: Paul George, Thunder

C: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

Second team

G: Eric Bledsoe, Bucks

G: Jrue Holiday, Pelicans

F: Draymond Green, Warriors

F: P.J. Tucker, Rockets

C: Joel Embiid, 76ers

Two choices were easy – Marcus Smart and Rudy Gobert on the first team. Not much separated Joel Embiid and Myles Turner for second-team center. First-team forwards Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George were also close to second-team forward Draymond Green. P.J. Tucker took the final forward spot from a crowded field that also included Paul Millsap and Thaddeus Young. Tucker’s versatility and intensity go a long way toward keeping the Rockets’ defense passable. Danny Green deserves credit for steadying the Raptors’ defense with ace guarding and vocal communication amid plenty of roster and lineup churn.

Dane Delgado

First team

G: Eric Bledsoe, Bucks

G: Patrick Beverley, Clippers

F: Paul George, Thunder

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks

C: Rudy Gobert, Jazz

Second team

G: Marcus Smart, Celtics

G: Derrick White, Spurs

F: Pascal Siakam, Raptors

F: Kawhi Leonard, Raptors

C: Joel Embiid, 76ers

The real problem with all-defense is that you can’t put Joel Embiid on the first team. This award still suffers from the positionality of the selections, and no doubt he deserves to be on the first team with Rudy Gobert. There have been a couple surprises on the defensive end of the floor this season in the NBA, most notably with the rise of Pascal Siakam and San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White. This is our mock ballot of course, but I do wonder whether Draymond Green misses the cut like I’ve decided to do here. There’s just too many good players on that side of the ball and it’s not abundantly clear that Green was consistent for a long enough stretches of the season to beat out some of his contemporaries.