Frank Vogel: LeBron James, Other Lakers Deserve All-Defensive Team Recognition
Danny Green, James Harden, LeBron James
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers emerged as one of the main title contenders this season in big part to their stellar defense. Anthony Davis in particular has flourished on the defensive end of the floor in his first season in L.A., earning a career-second All-Defensive First Team selection.

But Davis is the only Laker who received the recognition despite head coach Frank Vogel’s team owning the third-best defense of the regular season. LeBron James received received one First Team vote and five Second Team votes, while Bradley registered just one vote for Second Team — with both failing to make the cut.

Meanwhile, 17th-year veteran James has arguably put in one of the best overall defensive performances of his career this season. Alex Caruso and Bradley being similarly influential for the Lakers defense.

And Vogel did not hide he was baffled by the All-Defensive selections. “We’ve got a lot of guys, honestly,” he said. “I think our centers, I would start there, but they’re not going to get the recognition because they’re sharing the center position.

“I think what ‘Bron does with quarterbacking us, has really surprised me in the first year as his coach. What he’s able to do on the ball but also quarterbacking the action, he deserves recognition.

“Obviously Avery, KCP and Alex, to me, are exceptional perimeter defenders. I think they should be under consideration as well.”

Davis was selected to the All-Defensive First Team alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gobert, Marcus Smart, and Ben Simmons. However, the Lakers forward missed out on the Defensive Player of the Year award, finishing second in the voting, behind Antetokounmpo.

James grateful after reaching most playoff wins in NBA history

James was dominant on both ends of the floor in the Game 3 victory over the Houston Rockets, scoring 36 points and recording four impressive blocks.

It was the 162nd playoff win of his illustrious career, passing Derek Fisher for most all-time. And James, who initially did not realize the feat, was full of gratitude following the game — saying the achievement was “something he never dreamed of.”

“But it doesn’t happen without my teammates over the years, my coaching staffs over the years, everyone from the top to bottom; GMs, owners, training staffs, ball boys, everyone has a hand in that because we’re part of the process of success,” James added.

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