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Howard leads NBA All-Defensive team, but with Kobe?

May 9, 2011, 3:04 PM EDT

NBA Finals Game 5: Los Angeles Lakers v Boston Celtics Getty Images

The votes on NBA All-Defensive team are often more about reputation than how somebody is actually performing.

In theory coaches vote on this award, but it’s taken about as seriously as the coaches ballots in college football polls. Which means sometimes an assistant fills it out, sometimes the team PR guy, pretty much anyone but a cheerleader.

Which explains some of the odd votes. First, here is your NBA First Team All Defense

Center — Dwight Howard, Orlando
Guard — Rajon Rondo, Boston
Forward — LeBron James, Miami
Guard — Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers
Forward — Kevin Garnett, Boston

Now the NBA Second Team All Defense:

Guard — Tony Allen, Memphis
Guard — Chris Paul, New Orleans
Center — Tyson Chandler, Dallas
Forward — Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia
Forward/Center — Joakim Noah, Chicago

Wait, Noah gets to be a forward? How exactly does that work… oh, just like Tim Duncan gets to be one on the All-Star ballot.

The biggest issue here is Kobe on the first team — that is purely reputation. Kobe can still defend well when he wants, but now days he is not the guy on the Lakers who handles the best perimeter player of the other team (Ron Artest gets that) and Kobe picks his spots on defense. He can still defend, but he doesn’t do it intensely on a night in, night out basis anymore.

Some other oddities include Andrew Bogut only getting one vote. It seems unfair, except that if I had two votes they would go to Howard and Chandler, then maybe Noah because he is a center not a forward. Except that Noah played 48 games this season and Bogut 65. Basically, Bogut gets overlooked and that’s a shame.

That Chicago’s Keith Bogans got two votes (one for first team) means somebody is voting this as a team award.

Some may have issues with Garnett and LeBron on the first team, but I’m okay with that. Star power helps them out in this but they do defend. KG had his best defensive season in a while.

Derrick Rose was the next guard in line ahead of Dwyane Wade and Russell Westbrook. Refer back to the first couple graphs of this post about how seriously this vote is taken.

  1. zblott - May 9, 2011 at 3:07 PM

    All-Defensive Teams have been based on reputation forever and are quite a joke anymore. It’s funny how the guys on the 2nd team often end up with more votes for the DPOY than those on 1st (like Tony Allen vs Kobe this year).

  2. aboogy123456 - May 9, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    Kurt, you obviously don’t watch enough laker games to see that kobe still has a great impact on defense and deserves to be up there. he doesn’t only do a great job guarding his man, but his best work is on help defense and defense in the clutch, two things you overlooked.

    Besides kobe, I wouldn’t mind if sefolosha, tony allen, or wade made it. But don’t act like kobe isn’t deserving.

  3. davidly - May 9, 2011 at 4:49 PM

    I think Chris Paul and Tony Allen should be first team.

  4. redbear18 - May 9, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Anyone see the jazz-lakers game near the end of the year? Utah was lottery bound and the Lakers were in the middle of an impressive stretch, but jazz rookie Gordon Hayward outfields Kobe both offensively and defensively. He got 30-something points and prevented Kobe from even getting the final shot off. Don’t tell me Kobe is a good defender with games like that.

  5. zblott - May 9, 2011 at 7:06 PM

    Even the LA Times thinks Kobe’s inclusion is a joke:

    http://lakersblog.latimes.com/lakersblog/2011/05/kobe-bryant-named-to-nbas-all-defensive-team-for-ninth-time.html

    Some choice quotes:
    “even the most vocal Bryant supporters admit that he’s mostly avoided playing defense this season”
    “In an honor that NBA coaches must mostly determine by reputation”
    “his responsibility playing the centerfield position hardly warrants him having stronger consideration than even some of his teammates”
    “he’s hardly the defensive stalwart he once was, even if the awards suggest otherwise”

  6. eagles512 - May 9, 2011 at 8:14 PM

    Iguodala is a first teamer.

    • florida727 - May 10, 2011 at 7:14 AM

      Thanks Mrs. Iguodala.

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