Predicting the NBA All Defensive Team for the 2018-19 Season
We are a quarter of our way through the season and so much can change in the remaining time. Remember when we all thought DeMarcus Cousins was going to be an All Star last year? Me neither, as so much transpired after that.
Thus, despite it being an exercise in futility, I have tried to make a list of players for the NBA All Defensive Team for the 2018-19 season. A couple of stellar players miss out on this list due to various injuries. Dejounte Murray (ACL tear), Kris Dunn (Bulls PG), Oladipo (Pacers SG), Westbrook (multiple injuries) and Andre Roberson (rehabbing, out beyond Christmas) come to mind but some teams have been stopping NBA powerhouses on a regular basis even with the hands-free rule.
Some players have slightly disappointed and some have risen from the depths of irrelevancy to show up ready for a grit 'n' grind team. Here's a look:
1) Center: Marc Gasol
The younger Gasol brother must be relieved to be back to relevancy again. After a forgettable last season, when he won a civil war with David Fizdale but lost almost everything else, he has been reinvigorated as the anchor of a grit'n'grind team reminiscent of the old era. In a league where offense is god and defense is what players aren't paid to do, the 2012-13 DPOY is back to winning ways, aided by underrated Mike Conley and revelation rookie Jaren Jackson Jr, who might be the steal of the draft.
Gasol is a very good anchor and has tremendous leadership skills, particularly when it comes to calling for sets and plays during the game. He's quick on his feet and almost always makes the right play, particularly in clutch situations. In light of Gobert's slightly disappointing start, Gasol has shown himself to be a rock under the rim. (Rose's 50 point outburst came against Gobert, while Gobert was his man on multiple possessions. How a 6'3 guard was able to finish with that consistency against a 7'1 center at the rim is still a mystery to me.)
An All Defensive team nomination is all very good, but in a league dictated on changing styles, Gasol has expanded his game to include shots from outside the paint.