Smart, Gobert, Antetokounmpo headline NBA All-Defensive Team


Marcus Smart‘s value as a defender was made clear in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals when Ime Udoka assigned him to guard Jimmy Butler (who still got his but had to work hard for those buckets).

Nobody was questioning the defensive value of Rudy Gobert or Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Those three current and former Defensive Players of the Year headline the NBA All-Defensive Team, which was announced on Friday night. Here are the voting results, with their point totals next to them.

G. Marcus Smart (Celtics), 198
G. Mikal Bridges (Suns), 193
C. Rudy Gobert (Jazz), 171
F. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), 156
F. Jaren Jackson Jr. (Grizzlies), 153

F. Bam Adebayo (Heat), 152
G. Jrue Holiday (Bucks), 89
G. Mattise Thybulle (76ers), 87
C. Robert Williams III (Celtics), 70
F. Draymond Green (Warriors), 34

Others receiving votes: Fred VanVleet (Raptors) 41; Joel Embiid (76ers) 33; Dejounte Murray (Spurs) 24; Chris Paul (Suns) 21; Evan Mobley (Cavaliers) 13; Herbert Jones (Pelicans) 10; Patrick Beverley (Timberwolves) 9; Dorian Finney-Smith (Mavericks) 7; Kyle Lowry (Heat) 6; Jimmy Butler (Heat) 5; Alex Caruso (Bulls) 5; Jayson Tatum (Celtics) 4; Scottie Barnes (Raptors) 4; Gary Payton II (Warriors) 3; Derrick White (Celtics) 3; Al Horford (Celtics) 2; Devin Booker (Suns) 1; Ayo Dosunmu (Bulls) 1; Jarrett Allen (Cavaliers) 1; Deandre Ayton (Suns) 1; OG Anunoby (Raptors) 1; Desmond Bane (Grizzlies) 1; Kevin Durant (Nets) 1.

A few thoughts on the results:

• Voters had to choose two guards, two forwards and a center for each team. That’s how VanVleet can have more total points than Green but not make the team (he was well behind Thybulle for the last guard spot). As with All-NBA and other awards, there is a push from voters and fans to have this be more positionless (better matching with how today’s game is played).

• Adebayo came in fourth in Defensive Player of the Year voting but was second-team All-Defense (one point behind JJJ).

• The Celtics had the top-ranked defense in the NBA this season and had six players receive votes (with Smart and Williams making the team). The Suns were second with four players receiving votes (someone voted for Booker… which is a choice; he’s improved on that end, but All-Defense?).

• One voter left Marcus Smart off the ballot entirely. Two left Bridges off, five left Gobert off and seven left Antetokounmpo off.

• There was a lot of support on NBA Twitter for the Pelican’s Jones (who likely suffered both from being a rookie and the fact his team was rarely on national television and out of the eyes of some voters).

• The voting is done by a select group of 100 media members (the voters and their choices will be made public after all the NBA end-of-season awards are announced.