Jan 28, 2013; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) blocks the last second shot of Philadelphia 76ers guard Nick Young (1) during the fourth quarter at the Wells Fargo Center. The Grizzlies defeated the Sixers 103-100. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Defensive Player Of The Year (2013 SCIC NBA Year-End Awards)

Continuing a tradition that began here at Sir Charles in Charge almost one year ago, we will once again be giving you our predictions and picks for all of the year-end NBA hardware with our 2013 SCIC NBA Awards. 

Over the next several days, you will see who the writers here at the site selected as the winners for the following awards…

NBA Coach Of The Year/NBA Rookie Of The Year/NBA Defensive Player Of The Year/NBA Sixth Man Of The Year/NBA Most Improved Player/NBA Most Valuable Player.

For our third award, let’s take a look at who’s walking away with the SCIC award (Editor’s Choice) for NBA Defensive Player Of The Year for 2013.

Second runner-up: Guard Andre Iguodala – Denver Nuggets

2012-13 Statistics: 79 games played, 34.8 minutes, 12.9 points, 44.9% from the field, 5.3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.6 blocks, 15.14 PER

It’s been quite a while since a perimeter player has taken home the NBA Defensive Player Of The Year Award. In fact, the last player to do it was Ron Artest (Metta World Peace) back in 2003-04, and the last player before him was Gary Payton in 1995-96, so it’s extremely rare.

Voters love going with bigs who block and alter a lot of shots. While that’s certainly important, nothing should be taken away from those guards and forwards who defend the perimeter and play man-to-man on the ball.

There are just a handful of players in the NBA that create as much frustration to the opposing offense away from the basket as much as Andre Iguodala.

According to Synergy Sports, Andre ranks fifth in the league in points allowed per possession in one-on-one scenarios. He also sits ninth in the NBA in steals (1.7).

“I like him because he gets so many deflections in the game,” said Nuggets coach George Karl, when asked whether Iguodala was the NBA’s best perimeter defender. “It not only makes the guy he’s covering have to work, miss a lot of shots and shoot a low percentage, but his turnovers, his hands, his length, all that is pretty first class. The other guy who comes to mind when you ask that question is Tony Allen (of Memphis).” (Denver Post)

First runner-up: Center Joakim Noah – Chicago Bulls

2012-13 Statistics: 65 games played, 37.1 minutes, 12.1 points, 48% from the field, 11.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 2.2 blocks, 18.28 PER

For an in-depth look at the type of season Joakim Noah has had for the Chicago Bulls, click here.

WINNER: Center Marc Gasol – Memphis Grizzlies

2012-13 Statistics: 79 games played, 35.1 minutes, 14.2 points, 49.5% from the field, 7.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.7 blocks, 19.66 PER

A Defensive Player Of The Year not named Tyson Chandler or Dwight Howard?

It’s like seeing color’s I’ve never seen before.

Sure, his block and steals numbers won’t blow you out of the water, and 7.8 rebounds a game for a seven-footer who averages 35 minutes a night isn’t all that impressive, but believe me when I tell you that Marc Gasol has been the best defensive player in the NBA this season, who has attributed greatly to the Grizzlies overall success in 2012-13.

Memphis is the only team in the league that holds opponents under 90 points a game (89.3). They rank third in opponents field-goal percentage (43.5%), seventh in forced turnovers (14.7), second in opponents three-point percentage (33.8%) and second in opponents rebounds (39.1). The team also ranks second in defensive efficiency (97.4).

Gasol does have the luxury of playing alongside some stellar defensive guards in Mike Conley and Tony Allen, but Marc is still the last line of defense when it comes to altering and contesting shots.

“He anchors the defense, he talks in the back, he recognizes what’s going on that the other team is doing  to us,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. “He’s also pretty decent in pick-and-roll, going to help, and knowing when to double, when to stay home. He just has good basketball instincts and that carries over offensively and defensively as well. Probably a lot of guys are deserving, probably guys that are quicker than him, more athletic than him, but what he does for us, it works.” (NBA.com)

He’s not a blocking machine, and will never be known for putting up astounding numbers, but it’s the little things Marc Gasol does on defense that make the Memphis Grizzlies such a formidable squad. Be sure to watch his little nuances in the postseason, and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.

Honorable Mentions: LeBron James of the Miami Heat, Larry Sanders of the Milwaukee Bucks, Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs, Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies

Staff Writer Picks

Jay Rosales (@Rosalesaurus) – 3) Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs 2) Paul George of the Indiana Pacers 1) WINNER: Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies

John Armstrong (@JohnYArmstrong – 3) Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers 2) Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks 1) WINNER: Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder

Michael Lingberg (@Lingberg2000) – 3) LeBron James of the Miami Heat 2) Larry Sanders of the Milwaukee Bucks 1) WINNER: Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls

Dante Nelson (@DanteWrites) – 3) Larry Sanders of the Milwaukee Bucks 2) Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies 1) WINNER: Andre Iguodala of the Denver Nuggets

Chris Walder is the Editor of Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter at @WalderSports

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Tags: Chicago Bulls Denver Nuggets Los Angeles Clippers Memphis Grizzlies Miami Heat Milwaukee Bucks NBA Playoffs New York Knicks SCIC Awards

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