Feb 7, 2014, 12:55 PM EDT
It’s going to be Roy Hibbert. If you were going to bet on one sure thing out of the NBA’s awards this season, you should bet on Roy Hibbert being named Defensive Player of the Year. More than Durant as MVP or Michael Carter-Williams as Rookie of the Year, Hibbert is a lock for DPOY.
Unless LeBron James gets to decide.
He doesn’t (it’s voted on by media members) but LeBron said he deserves a little love in the category after he showcased his defensive skills against the Clippers, as reported by Ira Winderman at the Sun Sentinel.
Wednesday night was one of those times, with James guarding everyone from fleet point guard Darren Collison to imposing center DeAndre Jordan, along the way also taking turns on exponentially improving Clippers forward Blake Griffin.
“That’s why I should be Defensive Player of the Year,” he said with a smile, but also a touch of candor. “One-through-five. Started off on DeAndre, guarded Darren Collison that one possession, so, you know. No one has ever done this before.
“That’s why I’m sitting here with nine bags of ice.”
The DPOY Award often goes to a big man because we can see them clean up the messes made by guys on the perimeter — Hibbert, Dwight Howard and last year’s (deserving) winner Marc Gasol radically change their teams’ defensive fortunes by how they patrol the paint and take away easy buckets.
The versatility of what James does is not as easy to point to, but he’s right in the sense that his contributions on that end can get overlooked. LeBron is a unique physical talent in the league and guys who can guard multiple positions have real value — and nobody is as versatile on that end as LeBron. He should be high on every voter’s ballot this season.
But the award is still deservingly going to Hibbert, the anchor for the best defensive team in the NBA.
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