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NBA Reveals Historic All-Defensive Teams

NBA All-Defensive Team selections Victor Wembanyama, Rudy Gobert, and Jaden McDaniels

On Tuesday, the NBA announced their All-Defensive teams for the 2023-24 season, honoring standard-bearers of the less glamorous end of the court.

NBA Reveals Historic All-Defensive Teams

There were a number of elite on-ball defenders who were arguably snubs. Oklahoma City Thunder wing Lu Dort (6) and Boston Celtics wing Jaylen Brown (3) received multiple first-place votes, but didn’t make the cut. Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander also won six first-place votes. However, despite leading the NBA in steals, he didn’t make either All-Defensive team either.

First Team

The All-Defensive First Team is headlined by San Antonio Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama and Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert. The latter also came away with the 2024 Defensive Player of the Year Award. It’s his fourth time receiving the trophy.

Los Angeles Lakers big man Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans swingman Herb Jones, and Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo made the First Team as well. Adebayo, like Gobert and Wembanyama, was a Defensive Player of the Year Award finalist. One has to wonder if he or Davis feels vindicated by this recognition. Both have been disappointed by the lack of appreciation for their defensive efforts.

In being selected to the All-Defensive First Team, Wembanyama became the first rookie to achieve the feat. It’s a fitting end to one of the most historic rookie seasons in NBA history. Interestingly, the last two rookies to make All-Defensive Second Team —Tim Duncan and David Robinson —also played for the Spurs.

Not to be forgotten is ‘Not on Herb,’ a staunch perimeter defender with his slight 6-foot-8 frame. He’s recorded at least 100 steals and 40 blocks in every season. A second-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Jones finished fifth in Defensive Player of the Year voting this year with opponents shooting 11.4 percent below their season average when he was the primary defender.

Second Team

The All-Defensive Second Team is guard-heavy, with four spots going to backcourt players. Notably, the Boston Celtics have two representatives in the second team with Jrue Holiday and Derrick White. Aside from the wondrous Wembanyama, Chicago Bulls guard Alex Caruso is the only player to make an All-Defensive team despite his squad missing the playoffs.

Orlando Magic guard Jalen Suggs may be the most unlikely member of the All-Defensive team.

He’s always been considered at least an above-average defender due to his physical profile and doggedness. Yet, with the Magic’s backcourt logjam and Suggs’s slow development, he didn’t enter the season with high expectations. Suggs is the first Magic player to be selected to an All-Defensive team since three-time Defensive Player of the Year, Dwight Howard.

The Timberwolves join the Celtics with two All-Defensive representatives, a franchise first. The wily Jaden McDaniels makes would-be scorers wilt with suffocating defense that’s been highlighted throughout the playoffs. Though he was arguably worthy of a spot on the First Team, making the Second Team is no small feat.

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