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Monday, May 13, 2013

Tony Allen Leads All-Defensive Team Voting, Larry Sanders Snubbed for Center Spot Despite Receiving More Votes than Marc Gasol

Tony Allen and LeBron James each received 25 First Team votes for the All-Defensive Team; the NBA's 30 head coaches select the All-Defensive First and Second Teams by position and are not allowed to vote for their own players. A First Team vote is worth two points, while a Second Team vote is worth one point. Allen received three Second Team votes, meaning that only one coach did not select Allen (since Allen's Coach Lionel Hollins is not permitted to choose Allen). Allen's 53 points pace this year's All-Defensive Team. James received one Second Team vote and thus finished with 52 points. James also finished second (to Marc Gasol) in the Defensive Player of the Year voting, which is conducted among media members; Allen finished fifth in the Defensive Player of the Year voting.

Serge Ibaka is the other All-Defensive First Team forward (17 First Team votes, 12 Second Team votes), while Chris Paul (15 First Team votes, seven Second Team votes) completes the First Team backcourt. Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah each earned 24 points, so they split the First Team center spot; Chandler received nine First Team votes and six Second Team votes, while Noah received eight First Team votes and eight Second Team votes.

The All-Defensive Second Team consists of forwards Tim Duncan and Paul George, center Marc Gasol and guards Avery Bradley and Mike Conley.

The NBA's official press release states that Larry Sanders finished with 16 points (including four First Team votes); it is not clear why he is not listed as the Second Team center over Marc Gasol, who earned 12 points (five First Team votes, two Second Team votes). Sanders is designated as a center at the Milwaukee Bucks' official website and at every other website/publication that I have seen.

Another irregularity in the press release is that only 149 of the 150 First Team votes are noted; the listed point totals correctly add up to 450 (30 coaches multiplied by five positions multiplied by two points for each First Team vote and one point for each Second Team vote), so apparently whoever put the press release together neglected to account for one of the First Team votes by listing it in parentheses next to the name of the player who received that vote. Also, although the voting is supposed to be done by position, the listed First Team votes do not add up properly. Forwards received 56 First Team votes (LeBron James 25, Serge Ibaka 17, Paul George seven, Tim Duncan three, Luol Deng one, Kenneth Faried one, Nic Batum one, Metta World Peace one) instead of 60. Since Sanders received four First Team votes it really looks like the coaches and the NBA wrongly classified Sanders as a forward. Guards received 60 First Team votes. Centers Chandler (nine), Noah (eight), Gasol (five), Dwight Howard (three) and Roy Hibbert (two) received 27 First Team votes. Those numbers--56 votes for forwards, 60 votes for guards, 27 votes for centers, four votes for Sanders--add up to 147, with the one uncounted vote pushing the total to 148.

The other two First Team votes belong to Andre Iguodala; it is not clear how the voters and/or the NBA categorized Iguodala but regardless of whether one correctly lists Iguodala as a guard (Danilo Gallinari is Denver's starting small forward) or whether one lists Iguodala as a forward (he can play that position, though he mainly played guard this season) the positional numbers still do not add up to 60, 60, 30 (i.e., two First Team forwards, two First Team guards and one First Team center on each ballot) the way that they should. Perhaps these concerns seem trivial but--unless Sanders has suddenly changed positions or unless the listed vote totals are wrong--the NBA should issue a correction and award Sanders All-Defensive Second Team status over Gasol.

As usual, my All-Defensive Team selections closely mirrored the coaches' choices. The coaches agreed with three of my First Team picks (Allen, Ibaka, James) and six of my 10 choices overall--seven if in fact Sanders actually was voted as the Second Team center even though the press release does not list him as such. I left Avery Bradley and Joakim Noah off of my team because they missed 32 and 16 games respectively; I don't see how Bradley is a valid choice after missing nearly half of the season. I chose Thabo Sefolosha (who finished just four points behind Conley) and Roy Hibbert instead of Bradley and Noah.

I don't understand why the coaches picked Chandler over Hibbert. Chandler made the All-Defensive Second Team last season but this season his individual numbers are slightly worse (6.5 defensive rebounds per game in 2012 plus 1.4 bpg; 6.6 defensive rebounds per game in 2013 plus 1.1 bpg) and the New York Knicks' team defense is worse: the Knicks ranked 10th in defensive field goal percentage in 2012 but dropped to 19th this season and they dropped from 18th to 25th in defensive rebounding, though they did improve slightly (from 11th to seventh) in points allowed. Hibbert and Gasol clearly had more impact defensively both in terms of their individual statistics and in terms of their teams' defensive statistics.

Previous Articles About All-Defensive Team Voting

Interesting Contrasts Between All-Defensive Team Voting and Defensive Player of the Year Voting (2012)

Bryant and Garnett Each Earn All-Defensive First Team Honors for the Ninth Time (2011)

Analyzing the Votes for the All-Defensive Team and the All-NBA Team (2010)

Howard, Bryant Lead All-Defensive Team Voting (2009)

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posted by David Friedman @ 5:43 PM



At Monday, May 13, 2013 7:20:00 PM, Anonymous AW said...

Do you notice the trend over the years? The defensive year is mostly gicen to a big man. I feel in the past several years there were some peremeter players woethy of the award. Loul Deng, LeBron James and Tony Allen come to kind.

Marc Gasol is a good defenser, but I dont think he's one of the top five defenders in the league.

Also, do you think it's possible for a player to win defensive player of the year award and first team defense even if his team is not a playoff team or bad defensively? In a sense I don't think a player should really be penalized if his teams defense is not good. Focus on how good he is defensively. If a team is going to be great defensively it takes effort from all players. I think the same for team record. Look at individual performance.

Dwight at full strength is a top five player in this league. I believe at full strength he is the games best defender.

At Tuesday, May 14, 2013 6:31:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...


Yes, I have noticed that trend.

I don't know about Deng and Allen being DPoY candidates but LeBron deserved consideration for the honor in the past two seasons.

I agree with you about Gasol, which is why I left him off of my All-Defensive Team. The coaches favored Noah, Chandler and Sanders over Gasol among centers, though for some strange reason Sanders was classified as a forward.

Although Howard at full strength is the best defender in the league and a top five player overall, he clearly was not at full strength this season nor was he the best defender or a top five overall player.


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