Right now, in a normal year, NBA fans would be occupied with the opening of free agency, even though no deals would officially be announced for another handful of days. But obviously, this hasn't been a normal year.
With the season still paused due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, so many elements of a traditional season have not yet occurred. Not only has free agency not started, but there also hasn't been a draft and player awards haven't been announced.
The dates of those first two events have been made known. The timing of the latter, however, has not.
Still, we have a pretty good idea of which players will be the top contenders for each award. It would be stunning if Giannis Antetokounmpo didn't win his second consecutive NBA MVP award. And with Zion Williamson getting off to a delayed start, Ja Morant widely is expected to be named NBA Rookie of the Year. But what about the defensive awards -- not just the Defensive Player of the Year, but the All-Defensive teams, as well?
Those often are the most difficult decisions for media members when filling out their award ballots. While stats like steals and blocks are easily quantified, they don't necessarily paint the whole picture on the defensive end. So, to establish who the best defenders in the league are, The Athletic's Jon Krawczynski and Josh Robbins went directly to the best possible source.
They anonymously polled 33 NBA head and assistant coaches, who offered their votes for the NBA All-Defensive First and Second Teams. Additionally, 23 of those coaches voted on the NBA Defensive Player of the Year, ranking their top three choices -- just like the media does.
As you might expect, the Warriors had a very limited presence on the coaches' ballots. You don't find many All-Defensive players on teams with the worst record in the league. That said, Golden State wasn't completely absent from the voting. Former NBA Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green didn't get nearly enough recognition to qualify for either of the defensive teams, but his reputation did garner him a first-place vote from one coach.
"He didn't have a great year, but he's one of the smartest guys," the coach said. "He's so versatile. He's tough, he rebounds, he takes on the challenge."
Green's intelligence on the defensive end was lauded by another coach, who compared it to that of LeBron James'.
"LeBron is up there with smarts like Draymond," the coach explained. "Those two are probably the brightest on that end of the floor."
Just like the All-Defensive teams, Green didn't get anywhere near enough votes for Defensive Player of the Year. But, just like the All-Defensive teams, his reputation preceded him, as he received a single second-place vote.
As Krawczynski and Robbins noted, Green's absence from most ballots has plenty to do with the fact that Kevin Durant departed in free agency, Klay Thompson sat out the entire season and Stephen Curry appeared in only five games -- which had everything to do with Golden State's last-place record. Though there certainly were stretches in which Green's performance fell off, they seemed to be the product of the environment.
If Green reminds them as intended and lives up to Kerr's expectations, you can be sure he'll be much closer to the top of next season's defensive award ballots.
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Warriors' Draymond Green gets votes for NBA defensive awards in coaches poll originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area