Rudy Gobert and Anthony Davis, both 2017-18 NBA Defensive Player of the Year finalists, headline this season’s NBA All-Defensive First Team.
After averaging 13.5 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks for the Utah Jazz, Gobert led all players with 192 points en route to his second consecutive All-Defensive First Team honors.
Davis (163 points), who averaged 28.1 points, 11.1 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks for the New Orleans Pelicans, earned First Team honors for the first time in his career after being named to the Second Team in 2015 and 2017.
Joining Davis as first-timers include his Pelicans teammate Jrue Holiday (105), Victor Oladipo of the Indiana Pacers (136), and Robert Covington of the Philadelphia 76ers (90). Both Holiday (9.1 fewer points per 100 possessions) and Covington (8.4) made major differences on the court versus when they were off the court for their teams as Oladipo led the league in steals per game (2.4).
For the NBA All-Defensive Second Team, Joel Embiid and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green led players with 90 and 86 points, respectively. As Embiid forced opponents to shoot 7.8 percentage points worse when he was the closest defender, Green was one of only four players to average at least 1.3 blocks and 1.3 steals.
Rounding out the Second Team are Al Horford (85) of the Boston Celtics, Dejounte Murray (80) of the San Antonio Spurs, and Jimmy Butler (79) of the Minnesota Timberwolves. As Horford was the anchor in helping the Celtics lead the league in defensive rating (101.5 points allowed per 100 possessions), Butler averaged a career-high in steals (2.0).
Murray, who beat out Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets by five points and ended his seven-year streak of making one of the two defensive teams, ranked second among point guards in defensive rebounding percentage behind Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
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