Marc Gasol Named 2013 NBA Defensive Player of the Year
Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol has taken home one of the NBA's most coveted pieces of hardware for his accomplishments on the defensive end of the floor, according to the NBA's official Twitter account.
The Grizzlies tweeted a photo from Gasol's acceptance ceremony:
Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal posted a video of Gasol accepting the award:
According to an official release from NBA.com, Gasol tallied 212 total points, receiving 30 of 121 possible first-place votes. LeBron James came in second with 149 points (18 first-place votes) while Serge Ibaka (14 first-place votes) finished third with 122 points. Joakim Noah (107 points, 13 first-place votes) and Grizzlies teammate Tony Allen (102 points, nine first-place votes) rounded out the top five.
ESPN's Chris Vernon was the first to report that Gasol would take home the 2013 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award on Monday:
I was just told that Marc Gasol will be named NBA Defensive Player of Year— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) April 22, 2013
Despite losing rugged defender Rudy Gay in a midseason trade with the Toronto Raptors, there wasn't any drop-off for Lionel Hollins' defense this season. At 89.3 points allowed per game, the Grizzlies led the NBA in scoring defense.
That all started with Gasol.
Though he wasn't among the league leaders in many of the most noted defensive stats, the man in the middle of the Grizzlies defense was the glue that kept opposing teams from scoring in the paint.
In addition to contributing on offense with 14.1 points and 4.0 assists per game, Gasol averaged 7.8 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.0 steal per game—numbers that helped him place fifth on the NBA's defensive rating list for the 2012-13 season (via Basketball-Reference).
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He was also second on the NBA's defensive win shares list behind only Paul George (via Basketball-Reference).
The 7-footer also checked in at 12th on the blocks-per-game list, but as noted by NBA.com's Jeff Caplan, his stats don't tell the true story of how important he was for a Memphis team that made its mark on the defensive end.
There is little doubt that having quality defenders like Allen, Mike Conley, Tayshaun Prince and rebound-eater Zach Randolph on the squad helped Gasol's individual case for being named the league's best defender.
For being the anchor for that defensive unit, though, he deserves recognition.
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