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Manu Ginobili implies Tim Duncan should have won Defensive Player of the Year, says players should vote

Apr 25, 2013, 2:15 PM EDT

P.J. Tucker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tiago Splitter

Has an NBA award winner ever received more insinuation he didn’t deserve the honor than Marc Gasol, who won Defensive Player of the Year this season?

Manu Ginobili didn’t go as far as Kendrick Perkins or Dwight Howard, who both said Serge Ibaka should have won the award, but Ginobili implied Duncan should have won over Gasol. Via Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News:

“What I know is that when we have him we are one thing and when we don’t we are another thing,” he said. “It is because of his presence, his smartness, his deflections, being in position, things like that.”

Ginobili is correct. The Spurs allow 97.1 points per 100 possessions with Duncan on the court and 101.4 points per 100 possessions with out him, and that’s because Duncan does so many little things right.

Unlike the other objectors, Ginobili offers a solution. Via Monroe:

“It is the toughest award they give away because players don’t vote,” Ginobili said. “It’s the player that (goes) against other players who know. Sometimes the best rebounder is not the best defender; or the best in steals is not a great defender. He just gambles a lot.

“It could be (an award for players to choose), but it’s been going on for so many years. It’s not that I’m complaining, but probably we do know better than the media.”

Good for Ginobili for recognizing the nuance of defense, but in choosing someone like Gasol, the voters showed they could do that, too. Howard – whose criteria boils down to blocks = defense – showed at least one player could not.

  1. eventhorizon04 - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:42 PM

    I’m a big Tim Duncan fan. You could easily argue that when he was on the court this season, he was as impactful as Marc Gasol.

    However, the disclaimer here is “on the court.” As covered by Zach Lowe over at Grantland:

    “Duncan played has barely played 2,000 minutes this season, the equivalent of 2 dozen fewer games than Gasol. An “A-” player is worth more than an “A” player over the slog of the regular season if the “A-” guy is providing that many more minutes, even at a slightly lower level of overall play. Duncan’s minutes are low enough to hurt his awards case.”

    During the regular season, Gasol and Duncan played at roughly the same level defensively. In the event of a virtual tie, the tiebreak should go in favor of the guy who played the equivalent of *24 more games* when you factor in the minutes disparity – in this case, that’s Gasol.

  2. money2long - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    i can see that working, players voting for players. but ginobili has to realize, some players see other players more than others. kobe may go up against an iguodala more than lebron would. dwight sees more duncan than bosh does in a season. i think players can have a say, but it’s a variable. there is no constant. players from different coasts play different teams a different amount of times. so lebron may have more respect for that pistons team back in the day featuring ben wallace, where as kobe may have more respect for the spurs team. i dunno. it’s just a tricky thing.

    • michaeljordanseviltwin - Apr 25, 2013 at 8:30 PM

      I agree with your argument that player voting would be subjective but so is media voting. I hate to break it to you, but some of the guys voting on this award don’t have the League Pass in their home. It blows my mind but it’s true. So their votes might depend on who they see on ESPN, TNT and ABC.

      • money2long - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:18 PM

        well i see and concur with your point, to a point. because i dunno how many times the grizzlies had prime time games on espn, tnt or abc and marc gasol still won. the media guys do a lot more evaluation when it comes to the voting process than just what they saw on tv, i hope at least. marc won it on advanced stats. there were more popular choices out there, but marc won because of how his presence affected his team.

    • michaeljordanseviltwin - Apr 26, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      Yeah, you’re right. Marc Gasol was definitely an advanced stats win for DPOY. Grizzlies were second in defensive points per possession and using lineup data you can determine that most of that great defensive play happened with Marc on the floor.

      The only thing I don’t like about DPOY awards now is how skewed they are toward centers. I understand that a great defensive center can anchor a team and impact the game much more than a wing/on-ball defender but sometimes wing guys deserve the award. Avery Bradley seemed to get no credit at all; he’s such a pitbull on D that Jrue Holiday asked him to ease up. And LeBron of course defends all five positions depending on match-ups. I saw LBJ shut down Al Jefferson and almost lead a huge comeback in Utah.

  3. themars211 - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:51 PM

    Its funny hearing everybody down playing the block shot like its a worthless stat. I agree you can play fantastic defense with out great shot blocking. At the same time there is nothing more intimidating than a great shot blocker. It changes the way you play on offense tremendously if you have someone in the paint you know will put your shot into the stands ( personally i like guys that control the block). Plus when you think about shot blockers, most of there blocks are on a player other than one they are guarding and is usually covering up for another defenders mistake or getting beat. So if covering up for your teammates deficiency’s isn’t a part of being a great defender then what is? There is a reason guys like Mutombo lasted for so long in the league.

    • fredagsedb - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:46 PM

      It depends also how you block a shot. If you block it to your teammate, or get it yourself it’s equal to a steal.

      If you block it out of bounds it is much less valuable, and if you leave your own defender too much looking for blocks, and jumping to much, with Ibaka does, then you put get beat a lot for every block you get.

      Check out the article further down the page. It shows that Duncan is by far the player who gets his most of his own blocks, which is very valuable because he is a great outlet passer. And he is not far off the top of the league in blocking shots that ends up with his teammates.

  4. apmn - Apr 25, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    When I read Manu’s comments in the Express-News, they were placed within the context that Duncan has NEVER won Defensive Player of the Year. Which is hard to believe, but somehow true.

  5. fredagsedb - Apr 25, 2013 at 4:42 PM

    I understand the argument with minutes but check out these breakdowns. None was equal to Duncan in rebounding value, blocking value and he was pretty good guarding the pick & roll as well. Here are three very in depth analysis of stats regarding all of this. The only argument for TD not to be DPOY is minutes.

    http://www.poundingtherock.com/2013/3/20/4117576/tim-duncan-is-the-defensive-player-of-the-year

    http://www.poundingtherock.com/2013/3/26/4142670/tim-duncan-nba-defensive-player-year-DuncanDPOY-rebounds

    http://www.poundingtherock.com/2013/3/23/4133134/tim-duncan-NBA-defensive-player-year-pick-roll-DuncanDPOY

  6. jolink653 - Apr 25, 2013 at 6:48 PM

    Personally, I thought Serge Ibaka should have won since he did lead the league in blocks and in my opinion is a much better intimidator in the paint than Marc Gasol is…Gasol has Zach Randolph down there with him, and while Serge has Kendrick Perkins, Perkins is much slower than Randolph and does not intimidate other players as much as he used to, and I have a lot more faith in Serge in a one-on-on situation than I would Marc Gasol, and I can’t count the amount of times Ibaka has changed the momentum of an entire game with a couple monster blocks…I guess everyone had a good case this season, but I thought Serge earned it and I really hope he eventually wins one since I thought the vote could have gone either way between him and Tyson Chandler last season

  7. deadeyedesign23 - Apr 25, 2013 at 7:04 PM

    Your vote for Duncan is exactly why the players shouldn’t vote.

    • jacksonkane - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:09 PM

      You apparently have never watched a Spurs game. He is the reason they are consistently great, regardless of their age.

      The point is that offense or defense, individual players get punished when there is a great system in place. The Spurs are a great defensive team with well executed schemes. Voters are more prone to athletic individual efforts versus fundamentally sound basketball principles.

      Tim Duncan and the Spurs are boring to the average fan. For anyone who knows basketball, what he and his team does is beautiful. Truly the best small market team I have ever seen (in the view of a decade, not this season specifically).

      • deadeyedesign23 - Apr 26, 2013 at 8:21 AM

        You apparently don’t understand that the award is for the best defensive player in the league, not why the Spurs are consistently good. Off the top of my head there are 5 better candidates for DPOY.

        The problem with player voting that’s illustrated here is that they will always be incredibly biased to vote for their teammates.

  8. 00maltliquor - Apr 25, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    I’m cool with the idea of players having a vote for DPOY. Who knows better then the ones playing against the leagues best defenders?

  9. kavika6 - Apr 26, 2013 at 2:28 AM

    The media. What a joke.

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