Serge Ibaka is tired of being second. And third. Probably.
The league announced Marc Gasol as Defensive Player of the Year, with LeBron finishing second and Ibaka coming in third.
Gasol received 30 first-place votes, LeBron 18 and Ibaka 14. Gasol got 212 points, LeBron 149 and Ibaka 122.
Ibaka finished second to Tyson Chandler for the award last season.
Ibaka led the league for a third straight season in blocks and total blocks, averaging 3.03 a game. Ibaka’s defense was obviously improved this season, particularly one-on-one in the post and in pick-and-roll situations.
But Gasol won the award largely because of Memphis’ stout overall defense, something he anchors in the middle. Per NBA Stats, the Grizzlies had a 102.4 defensive rating without Gasol and the floor, but a 95.8 one with him on. Ibaka on the other hand didn’t make much of an impact in that area (99.5 off, 99.0 on).
Traditional stats like blocks and rebounds have become somewhat undervalued in today’s voting process and while that’s probably for the best, because good defense is about a lot more than just swatting shots, those plays do still count. Ibaka erased two points for the opposing team many times this year by climbing above the rim to block a dunk or layup.
Perk tweeted yesterday, “I’m not hating but the NBA just give awards away. Serge don’t get defensive player of the year. That don’t make any sense. SMMFH … That is Terrible. I’m done with this Shyt. Too many politics.”
Russell Westbrook actually finished 20th in voting, picking up one second-place vote.