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2014 PBT Awards: Defensive Player of the Year

Apr 17, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Indiana Pacers v Chicago Bulls Getty Images

Though none of us have a ballot for the NBA’s official awards, we’ll be presenting our choices and making our cases this week for each major honor.

Kurt Helin

1. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

2. Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers

3. Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors

At the midpoint of the season I thought Hibbert was a lock for this award. While his defense didn’t fall off nearly as much as his offense it did some (his rebounding was never great but became sports talk radio punch line) and that cost him the award because Noah never let up. Whole lot of people deserved the three spot but what Iguodala brought to Golden State really mattered.

Brett Pollakoff

1. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

2. Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers

3. Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City Thunder

The Bulls have had the league’s best defense per 100 possessions since January, so even though Hibbert started strong and Indiana finished at the top of the same defensive ranking when looking at the entire season, Noah gets the nod for leading the charge on a team with less overall talent.

Dan Feldman

1. Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers

2. Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

3. Andre Iguodala, Golden State Warriors

If this looks like the top defensive players on the NBA’s top three defensive teams in order, it is. But that’s as much as coincidence as it is coincidence good defensive teams have good defensive players. For these awards, I believe in body of work – where early-season games count just as much as late-season games. Hibbert really tested that, but I keep coming back to the fact that the Pacers’ downturn had more to do with their offense than defense (though it’s both).

  1. davidly - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:26 AM

    The problem is, it was never Hibbert’s. It was his team’s concept that ended with him, sure, but it began with the real defensive player of the year: Paul George.

    • john242322 - Apr 17, 2014 at 9:25 AM

      Couldn’t agree more. Paul George is a monster on D

    • bougin89 - Apr 17, 2014 at 9:48 AM

      Can’t you make the argument the other way too though? George, Hill, and Stephenson can really pressure the ball because if they get beat Hibbert is there to stop them?

      Whatever has taken over Hibbert’s head the last two months will probably take the DPOY award away from him. He better get back to focusing on being the backbone of their great defense instead of worrying about getting his shots on offense otherwise the Pacers could be in trouble.

      • davidly - Apr 17, 2014 at 9:54 AM

        No doubt. You can make that argument and most of the pundits have. And, indeed, Hill and Stephenson benefit from his presence back there, but George has been defending the opponents’ best player all season long and for his effort I think he is the Pacers’ best defender, and by extension, in my opinion DPotY.

        As far as Hibbert worrying about getting his shots. Don’t read too much into that. It’s the same every year. He’ll be fine.

      • bougin89 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:00 AM

        No need to tell me, I’ve been one of the few on this site defending Hibbert this year. I do agree with you about Paul George. He’s just as valuable as Hibbert on the defensive end for what the Pacers do. The playoffs will be interesting this year.

      • davidly - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:28 AM

        You gotta love the trolls who claim to have deep hoops’ knowledge but revert back to the fact that he’s not a 20/15er to talk crap about him. But you don’t hear former players saying that, because they know.

      • bougin89 - Apr 17, 2014 at 3:36 PM


      • 22yearsagotoday - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:55 PM

        Trolls = anyone who disagrees. I get it, now.

      • bougin89 - Apr 17, 2014 at 3:42 PM

        That’s not what we’re saying at all. What we are saying is that people that say Hibbert is garbage based on his stats just don’t have much of a clue. It’s not that Hibbert is a hall of famer(far from it actually) but he’s very valuable, especially to the Pacers and what they do on defense.

      • davidly - Apr 18, 2014 at 3:42 AM

        I admire the attempt, bougin89. We should all be so patient. But if that is what 22yearsagotoday got from my comment and this string, then s/he/it is one of the trolls who would draw the same fallacious conclusions, that is, if s/he/it bothered to try.

  2. aboogy123456 - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:35 AM

    Anyone but Hibbert please. He’s a pretty good rim protector but as davidly said, he gets his blocking stats because the perimeter players are playing such great D. And there are a lot of other things on defense that he doesn’t do well at all. Not a top 5 center in this league.

  3. creek0512 - Apr 17, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    In trying to seem smart by not picking Hibbert, you just look dumb.

    • bhunter1995 - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:37 PM


      Al Jefferson
      Marc Gasol
      Brook Lopez

      Then its either Drummond or Hibbert and if you want to include PFs that play the five spot a llot he drops a few more spots, Hibbert isn’t that good he might be worse then Bogut even.

      • bougin89 - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:22 PM

        As a center or strictly speaking defensive centers? If we’re talking just defense(this is a DPOY award article…) Then Hibbert is at or near the very top of the list. Otherwise yeah, there are a few centers deserving to be listed ahead of Hibbert.

  4. unxpexted1 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:02 AM

    I Noah a person who should win it……

    • unxpexted1 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:03 AM

      I hate when i mess up my own pun

      • davidly - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:29 AM

        I Noah x-actly what you mean.

      • 00maltliquor - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:12 AM

        I Noah lot of you guys want Hibbert to win this, but it would be a crime if Joakim didn’t take this.

      • 22yearsagotoday - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:56 PM

        Sorry for the thumbs down. I completely missed the pun. All I have is Noah’s Ark, and that sucks.

    • yomarianob - Apr 18, 2014 at 6:39 AM

      I’m sexy and I Noah it… !

  5. tomasekradek - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    Nobody in his right mind will vote for Hibbert. It’s not even funny how bad he is recently…. on BOTH ends of the floor.
    With the league full of defensively sub-par centers , i would go with some smaller guys like Igy, Butler, George, Kahwi etc.

  6. cantonbound13 - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      You’ve got some crush on LeBron. Why not focus on your own team? What’s that you say: you’re a pea brain loser who’s own team sucks so bad and own city is the sphincter of the universe. You make losers look good.

  7. tcclark - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:10 PM

    it should be Iguodala. look at how much that team’s defense improved with him on the roster. Henis the best perimeter defender in the league and has been for years. Its about ime he gets some recognition.

  8. jimsjam33 - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    DeAndre Jordan is the Defensive Player of the Year . On second thought forget the big guys . The best defensive player in the league is Chris Paul .

  9. jimeejohnson - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:02 PM

    How pathetic is that pea brain CantonBound? He’s jealous of the best basketball player in the world and tries to make him look bad. There must have been total pea brain hateful scumbags in the past who hated on guys like Wilt, Russell, and Kareem, too. And just like CantonPeaBrain, they came from dumb as sin parents. CantonPeaBrain: you’re a piece of crap!

  10. law1orde - Apr 17, 2014 at 4:44 PM

    I am glad to see that Serge Ibaka or Iblockya as we like to call him here in OKC got at least one mention here.

    On any given night Serge Ibaka has as many, and sometimes more eye-popping plays as do either Kevin Durant or Russel Westbrook. His great moments, though come more often at the defensive end of the court. In addition Ibaka has become a reliable scorer at 15.1 ppg for Thunder, while Noah scores 12.5 ppg and Hibbert only 10.7ppg. I don’t disagree with Noah as the Majority pick he is a joy to watch.

    • Kurt Helin - Apr 18, 2014 at 5:22 PM

      I considered Ibaka seriously for my ballot, because he always got blocks but he is making fewer mistakes than he used to. His rotations are better defensively, he’s improved as a one-on-one defender. Just missed for me this season but is in the mix.

  11. marcuspokus - Apr 18, 2014 at 3:14 AM

    !. Joakim Noah
    2. Patrick Beverly
    3. LeBron James

  12. ws0001 - Apr 18, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Not a mention of LeBron? He should not have the fact that he is also the best offensive player in the league be held against him.

    • casualcommenter - Apr 19, 2014 at 8:17 PM

      LeBron’s defensive numbers were way down this year.

      His best case for DPOY was back in 2011-2012, when he played superb defense after the lockout and was clearly motivated by the loss to the Mavericks in the Finals. He was legitimately the best wing defender in the NBA, and I actually felt like he deserved the DPOY award.

      Since then, though, his regular season defense has worsened each year, suggesting that he’s coasting a bit to preserve energy.

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