Making the case for the mid-season NBA All-Defensive First Team for the 2016-17 season
As we cruise past the halfway part of the 2016-17 NBA season, we take a look at the candidates for the all-defensive first team thus far.
Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz
Gobert is probably the easiest choice for a spot on the first team. Gobert is number one in the league in blocks (2.56 per game), and also leads all NBA players in DRPM (Defensive Real Plus Minus). This statistic takes into consideration a player’s estimated on-court impact on team defensive performance (measured in points allowed per 100 defensive possessions).
He has been the true anchor in the paint for the Utah Jazz. Rudy Gobert has also put his name in consideration for defensive player of the year.
Green continues to show us that his defensive versatility on the court is elite. He is able to guard positions 1-5 better than any other player in the NBA. He is ranked fourth in DRPM in the NBA, and ranked second amongst power forwards. His defensive abilities this year are even more impressive because their shot blocker in Bogut (second in DRPM in the NBA) is no longer a Warrior.
Pachulia doesn’t provide the same stability in the paint that Bogut did, so Green has had to pick up some of the slack. Green is also ranked third in the entire NBA in steals per game, and is in the top 20 in blocks per game. Whether it is guarding a point guard or a 7-footer, Green is more than willing to take on the task. Paul Millsap deserves some love in this spot as well.
Thabo Sefolosha, Atlanta Hawks
This pick may come of somewhat of a surprise because most people will choose the player who has won the last two defensive player of the year awards, Kawhi Leonard. Although Leonard definitely deserves some consideration, Sefolosha continues to be a lockdown defender.
Remember, when he was a member of the Thunder, he was a starter because of his defensive ability. Obviously, he couldn’t contribute to the team offensively every night, but he always brought his defense. He is continuing his great play on the defensive end with the Hawks.
Sefolosha is No. 1 in DRPM among small forwards, and is top 10 in steals per game. When it comes to guarding players like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George, and Jimmy Butler, he always gets the assignment.
Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies
Allen is a three time all-defensive first team player, and he continues to be great at the age of 35. He is No. 1 in DRPM among shooting guards and is top 10 in steals per game. He continues to lead a sensational defensive-minded Grizzlies team that never seizes to stop gritting and grinding. Like Sefolosha, he takes the assignment of guarding the best perimeter player on the opposing team on a nightly basis. It seems like he has not even skipped a beat.
Chris Paul, LA Clippers
Yes, everybody, Chris Paul is an outstanding defender. We all know how great of a a pure point guard he is offensively, so we sometimes forget how great he is on the defensive side. He is the best two-way point guard in the NBA, and it really isn’t even that close. He’s a six time all-defensive first team player in his career, but people still don’t realize how amazing of a defender he is.
He is top 5 in DRPM among NBA players, and is ranked No. 1 for point guards. And he is leading the NBA in steals again, he is a six-time NBA steals leader. We sometimes take for granted how complete of an all-around NBA player he truly is. His thumb injury will hurt him when it comes to being on this defensive team, and will open the gates for Patrick Beverley.