According to several reports, center Marc Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies is set to be named the NBA’s Defensive Player Of The Year for 2013.
I was just told that Marc Gasol will be named NBA Defensive Player of Year
— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) April 22, 2013
In 80 games for Memphis this season, Gasol averaged 14.1 points on 49.% shooting from the field, including 7.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 1.7 blocks and 1.0 steals.
Here is an excerpt from our “NBA Defensive Player Of The Year: 2013 SCIC Awards” piece, in which Gasol was declared the winner.
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.
Other candidates for the award included LeBron James of the Miami Heat, Larry Sanders of the Milwaukee Bucks and Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls.