The NBA announced today that the Defensive Player of the Year, Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs, has been unanimously selected to the 2015-16 NBA All-Defensive First Team. The 6-7 forward is the only player this season to receive all 130 First Team votes (260 total points).
In addition, the league announced that two members of the Los Angeles Clippers -- center DeAndre Jordan and point guard Chris Paul -- have also been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team.
It is Jordan’s second straight First Team honor and Paul’s fifth consecutive year on the First Team team and sixth overall time in his career, making him the 12th player in NBA history with at least six career nods.
Jordan received 137 points (62 First Team votes, 25 Second Team votes), while Paul garnered a total of 148 points (59 First Team votes, 30 Second Team votes).
Joining Jordan, Paul, and Leonard on the NBA All-Defensive First Team are forward Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors (151 points), and guard Avery Bradley of the Boston Celtics (149 points). Bradley earned the honor for the first time.
Jordan led the NBA in defensive rebounds per game (10.3) and was second in the NBA in rebounds per game (13.8) and blocks per game (2.30). He was the only player in the NBA to average 12-plus rebounds and 2-plus blocks in 2015-16.
Paul was third in the NBA in steals per game (2.05) and sixth in total steals (152). He has led the NBA in steals in six of the past nine seasons. Paul was previously named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2009 and was also named to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2011 and 2008.
The Clippers, behind Jordan and Paul, and the Celtics, behind Bradley, tied the Warriors for fourth in the NBA in defensive rating. Bradley, the top finisher among guards in NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting (sixth place overall), averaged a career-high 1.54 steals for Boston.
Leonard, the first non-center to earn the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award in back-to-back seasons since Dennis Rodman 25 years ago, averaged 1.78 steals (12th in the NBA), 5.5 defensive rebounds, and a career-high 0.99 blocks.
A first-time NBA All-Star this season, Leonard helped San Antonio hold opponents to a league-low 92.9 points per game. The Spurs also finished with the NBA’s best defensive rating, according to NBA.com/Stats, allowing 96.6 points per 100 possessions. Their defensive rating improved to 94.9 when Leonard was on the court and fell to 99.2 when he wasn’t – a difference of 4.3 points per 100 possessions.
Green, also a first-time All-Star section this season, was the runner-up to Leonard in NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award voting for the second year in a row. Green ranked fifth in the NBA in total defensive rebounds (635) and averaged 1.47 steals and 1.40 blocks for a Warriors team that tied for fourth in the league in defensive rating (100.9 points allowed per 100 possessions). Golden State gave up 97.5 points per 100 possessions with Green on the court compared with 109.5 points per 100 possessions with him off the court – a difference of 12 points.
The NBA All-Defensive Second Team consists of forwards Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks (97 points, 11 First Team votes) and Paul George of the Indiana Pacers (48 points, five First Team votes); center Hassan Whiteside of the Miami Heat (126 points, 44 First Team votes); and guards Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies (121 points, 44 First Team votes) and Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls (62 points, 18 First Team votes).
Other players receiving votes, with point totals (First Team votes in parentheses): Rudy Gobert, Utah, 64 (17); Klay Thompson, Golden State, 49 (16); Jae Crowder, Boston, 47 (3); LeBron James, Cleveland, 43 (5); Kyle Lowry, Toronto, 43 (9); Danny Green, San Antonio, 39 (9); Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City, 35 (12); Tim Duncan, San Antonio, 33 (5); Ricky Rubio, Minnesota, 30 (6); Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Detroit, 27 (3); Anthony Davis, New Orleans, 24 (3); Andre Drummond, Detroit, 14 (5); Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City, 14 (1); Stephen Curry, Golden State, 13 (3); Andre Iguodala, Golden State, 13 (3); Patrick Beverley, Houston, 11 (1); Al Horford, Atlanta, 7 (1); Marcus Smart, Boston, 7 (2); John Wall, Washington, 6; Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee, 3; Trevor Ariza, Houston, 3; Kent Bazemore, Atlanta, 3; Andrew Bogut, Golden State, 3 (1); DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento, 3 (1); Nicolas Batum, Charlotte, 2; Victor Oladipo, Orlando, 2 (1); LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio, 1; Harrison Barnes, Golden State, 1; Bismack Biyombo, Toronto, 1; Mike Conley, Memphis, 1; Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City, 1; Derrick Favors, Utah, 1; George Hill, Indiana, 1; Wesley Matthews, Dallas, 1; Luc Mbah a Moute, Los Angeles Clippers; Kristaps Porzingis, New York, 1; Andre Roberson, Oklahoma City, 1; Mike Scott, Atlanta, 1; Dwyane Wade, Miami, 1.
By Staff of TheDailySportsHerald.com and news services