This year’s All-Defensive Team featured some familiar names and several breakout stars. Leading the way in the All-Defensive Team First Team are two of the finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year award, Rudy Gobert and Anthony Davis. Joel Embiid, the third finalist made it to the Second Team.
Gobert is the transformative force that’s turned the Utah Jazz defense into one of the best defenses in the league (2nd overall). Gobert is a shot-altering beast that used his 7’9″ wingspan to shade the basket and deter players from attempting shots inside. Opponents shot 10% worse from six feet in when he was defending the hoop.
Davis led the league in blocks blocks this season with 2.5 blocks per game. He was the main defensive force in the paint for the New Orleans Pelicans. Davis is a pterodactly in the paint. He is able to defend the drive and quickly switch to the person taking a shot in one quick motion.
Teaming up with Davis in the All-Defensive First Team is fellow Pelican Jrue Holiday. With Rajon Rondo on board, Holiday was able to focus more on the defensive end where he really shined this season. Hoe fully showcased his defensive abilities in the Playoffs where he locked down the high-scoring duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum in the First Round.
Completing the All-Defensive First Team are Victor Oladipo and Robert Covington. The two Eastern Conference Wings made an impact defensively for their Playoff teams.
Covington manned the best offensive players of the Philadelphia 76ers’ opponents. The Sixers improved their Defensive Rating to third overall this season and Covington was a main reason for that growth.
Oladipo has long been known as a defensive player. He may have broken out this season on the offensive end but his defense didn’t slip. Oladipo led the league in steals at 2.3 per game.
The Sixers’ Embiid (1.8 bpg) leads the All-Defensive Second Team. Joining him in the group are last year’s Defensive Player of the Year, Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors (1.4 spg, 1.3 bpg), Jimmy Butler of the Minnesota Timberwolves (1.9 spg) and Dejounte Murray of the San Antonio Spurs (1.2 spg). Rounding out the Second Team is Al Horford, leader of the Boston Celtics, the team that owns the best Defensive Rating in the league.
Photos from NBA.com