2021 PBT Awards: All-Defense

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·2 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Kurt Helin

First team

Guard: Jimmy Butler (Heat)

Guard: Ben Simmons (76ers)

Forward: Draymond Green (Warriors)

Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)

Center: Rudy Gobert (Jazz)

Second team

Guard: Jrue Holiday (Bucks)

Guard: Marcus Smart (Celtics)

Forward: Matisse Thybulle (76ers)

Forward: Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)

Center: Joel Embiid (76ers)

Choosing between Jimmy Butler and Jrue Holiday for the final first-team guard spot felt almost like a coin flip, both had fantastic seasons and I flipped flopped a few times before setting on Butler. Draymond Green had the kind of impressive defensive season casual fans may miss (at least up until that play-in game against the Lakers) but he and Giannis Antetokounmpo were lock down.

Matisse Thybulle is one of the best wing defenders in the league and easy to leave off this list because he played just 20 minutes a night on a team with other great defenders (Joel Embiid/Ben Simmons), but he deserves to be here. Embiid was dominant enough to make it, but it was tough to leave off Clint Capela, who was fantastic in Atlanta. If Myles Turner had stayed healthy, he likely would have gotten a spot in this mix, too.

Dan Feldman

First team

Guard: Ben Simmons (76ers)

Guard: Jimmy Butler (Heat)

Forward: Draymond Green (Warriors)

Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)

Center: Rudy Gobert (Jazz)

Second team

Guard: Jrue Holiday (Bucks)

Guard: Paul George (Clippers)

Forward: Matisse Thybulle (76ers)

Forward: Jae Crowder (Suns)

Center: Clint Capela (Hawks)

Because they’re positioned near the basket, bigs typically have the highest impact on regular-season defense. But there are only two center slots on All-Defense teams. The modern NBA also leaves a dearth of centers who play enough power forward to take a forward spot. So, several players who had stronger defensive seasons than some players named above – 76ers’ Joel Embiid, Pacers’ Myles Turner, Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl, Heat’s Bam Adebayo – were omitted from my All-Defense teams.

Another oddity: The Lakers, who had the NBA’s top defense, put nobody on my All-Defense teams. That’s a credit to the depth of the Lakers’ defensive talent and quality of their defensive game plans. Anthony Davis and LeBron James would’ve been honored if they played more, but Los Angeles had several role players who stepped up and no weak links.

2021 PBT Awards: All-Defense originally appeared on NBCSports.com