Steph Curry did not win the MVP, but voters still managed to recognize the spectacular season the Warriors’ guard had.
They did not do the same for Draymond Green when it came to this year’s Defensive Player poll.
The NBA announced Wednesday that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was named Defender of the Year in 2021, marking the third time he has won the award. It was not at all a surprise, as Gobert was expected to win in a runaway way – and did so with 464 overall votes.
What was surprising, however, was the distribution of first-place votes. And more specifically, Green did not receive a single one.
Of the 16 first-place votes that did not go to Gobert, 15 went to Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons, who ultimately finished in second place in the poll with 287 points in total. The only remaining first-place poll went to Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo, who finished fourth in the poll with 31 points.
Green came in third with 76 points, which seems like far too few considering how huge he was defensively throughout the season. He received 13 second-place votes and 37 third-party votes, meaning that 50 percent of the ballots completely excluded Green from.
Sorry, but it’s just awful. The Warriors had the fifth-best defense in the NBA this season, which was an incredible feat considering Klay Thompson missed it all and they had a 19-year-old center limited to just 39 games. The Warriors don’t even come close to being a top-five defense without Green performing as if he did night out and night.
Yes, Curry carried the offense, but Green was just as critical on the other side of the ball.
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While it is understandable to vote Simmons over Green, the huge difference in overall points is not. First, two of Simmons’ teammates also received votes that would serve to further separate Green from him and the rest of the herd. And two, there is not a single player who finished below Green in the poll that deserves any kind of vote over him.
Had Green not been left out of the half (!) Polls, there is a good chance the poll would have more accurately acknowledged how phenomenal he was. In the end, it would not have made a difference in who won the award, but knowing Green will make a difference in his mindset heading into next season.
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