Long, athletic big men who can protect the rim and still switch out and defend a wing are the anchors every team wants to build its defense around. Players such as Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo — there’s a reason those guys finished one-two in Defensive Player of the Year voting.
There’s also a reason they are both on the First-Team All-Defensive team, along with the other DPOY finalist Rudy Gobert of Utah.
The NBA announced its All-Defensive Team on Tuesday.
G: Marcus Smart, Boston
G: Ben Simmons, Philadelphia
F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee
F: Anthony Davis, L.A. Lakers
C: Rudy Gobert, Utah
G: Eric Bledsoe, Milwaukee
G: Patrick Beverley, L.A. Clippers
F: Kawhi Leonard, L.A. Clippers
F: Bam Adebayo, Miami
C: Brook Lopez, Milwaukee
The three players with the highest vote totals not to make the team are Kris Dunn (Chicago, guard), P.J. Tucker (Houston, forward), and Jimmy Butler (Miami, forward). Joel Embiid was the center with the most votes behind Lopez, but there was a considerable gulf.
There is no wildcard, “What the heck were they thinking?” pick in this year’s NBA All-Defensive Team. If there is a glaring omission, it is that there is not one Toronto Raptors player on either team, and they had the second-best defense in the NBA this season. Kyle Lowry was fifth in guard voting.
Simmons, Adebayo, and Lopez all made the team for the first time.
Rudy Gobert gets a $500,000 bonus for making the All-NBA team, reports Bobby Marks of ESPN. He adds that Lowry missed out on a similar bonus.
There were a couple of interesting votes from the select media members who voted. Luka Doncic got one first-team vote, and Damian Lillard got one second-team vote. (Media members votes for all the awards will be released after the last award is announced.)