Here’s something else to potentially frustrate LeBron James when it comes to NBA defensive awards.
It was a given the Miami Heat forward would be named to the NBA All-Defensive first team, which became official Monday. But the surprise was Memphis center Marc Gasol, who beat runner-up James out for Defensive Player of the Year, didn’t even make the first team.
Gasol made the second team. But that wouldn’t have happened had New York’s Tyson Chandler and Chicago’s Joakim Noah not tied for first at center with 24 points. The NBA then put Chandler and Noah both on the first team and Gasol, the third-place finisher at center with 12 points, was placed on the second team.
The difference in the voting is that a media panel selects Defensive Player of the Year and the league’s 30 head coaches vote for the All-Defensive teams. This might stir up some debate on whether that difference should continue.
James, who made the All-Defensive first team for the fifth time in his career, was the second-leading vote-getter with 52 points. With coaches not being able to vote for their own players, he got 25 first-place votes (worth two points apiece) and two second-place votes (worth one point apiece). That meant two coaches left James entirely off their ballots.
Memphis guard Tony Allen was the leading vote-getter, with 53 points. He got 25 first-place votes and three for third.
The other two on the the first team were Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka and Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul. The other four on the second team were forwards Tim Duncan of San Antonio and Paul George of Indiana and guards Avery Bradley of Boston and Mike Conley of Memphis.
With three, the Grizzlies were the only NBA team with more than one player on the All-Defensive teams. But Gasol made it on a technicality. His 12 points were only 14th-best among all players to have received votes.