With the season still on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, many elements of a traditional season have yet to occur. Not only has the free agency not started, there are no plans or prices for the advertised players either.
The dates of these first two events are known. However, the latter’s schedule was not.
Still, we have a pretty good idea of which players will be the best contenders for each prize. It would be surprising if Giannis Antetokounmpo failed to win his second consecutive NBA MVP award. And with Zion Williamson taking a delayed start, Ja Morant is widely expected to be named the NBA Rookie of the Year. But what about defensive rewards – not just the defensive player of the year, but also the All-Defensive teams?
These are often the most difficult decisions for members of the media when filling out their ballot. Although statistics such as interceptions and blockages are easily quantifiable, they do not necessarily paint the whole picture on the defensive. So to establish who the best defenders in the league are, Jon Krawczynski and Josh Robbins of The Athletic went straight to the best possible source.
They anonymously polled 33 NBA head coaches and assistants, who offered their votes for the first and second NBA All-Defensive teams. In addition, 23 of these coaches voted for the NBA defensive player of the year, ranking their top three picks – as did the media.
As you can imagine, the Warriors were very little present on the coaches’ bulletins. You don’t find many All-Defensive players on the teams with the worst league record. That said, Golden State was not completely absent from the vote. Former NBA defensive player of the year Draymond Green was not recognized enough to qualify for one of the defensive teams, but his reputation earned him a top spot vote from a coach.
“He hasn’t had a great year, but he’s one of the smartest guys,” said the coach. “He is so versatile.
Green’s defense intelligence was praised by another coach, who compared it to LeBron James’s.
“LeBron is up there with minds like Draymond,” said the coach. “These two are probably the brightest on this side of the field. ”
Like the All-Defensive teams, Green did not get enough votes for the defensive player of the year. But, like the All-Defensive teams, his reputation preceded him because he received only one vote in second place.
As noted by Krawczynski and Robbins, Green’s absence from most ballots has a lot to do with the fact that Kevin Durant went free agency, Klay Thompson did not play all season and Stephen Curry only appeared in five games – which had everything to do with Golden State’s Last Record. While there were certainly stretches in which Green’s performance dropped, they appeared to be the product of the environment.
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Warriors coach Steve Kerr is expecting “the best version” of Green next season, and Green recently sent a message to those who have forgotten how good he can be.
If Green calls them back as expected and meets Kerr’s expectations, you can be sure that he will be much closer to the top of next season’s defensive ballots.
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