Predicting the NBA All Defensive Team for the 2018-19 Season
2) Small Forward: Kawhi Leonard
Leonard is the best perimeter defender and two-way player in the NBA. A two-time back-to-back DPOY, serious MVP candidacy and a bizarre stat, where his steals are more than personal fouls, had been forgotten as he sat out last season with injury. But he's back, and while he hasn't reached 100% working capacity yet, he's already been a monster on defense.
On a Raptors team filled with long, rangy defenders two deep at every level, Leonard's lockdown vise cannot be understated. At the Sixers game, he put Ben Simmons in a existential crisis, forcing double digit turnovers from the playmaker.
Against the Warriors, after Durant made a corner three in his face to force OT, he learned. The next possession, Durant brought the ball up and Leonard reached across and deflected the ball off KD to get back possession. He knew the risk of letting Durant build up steam near the arc and just "klawed" the ball out of his hands. That was clutch!
3) Power Forward: Draymond Green
Yes, Green is noisy and loud. Yes, he goes off on his teammate who is a free agent after this season. Yes, he talks trash without provocation. But this Golden State team is realizing just how important he is to all their defensive identity. There's no one to protect the rim now that JaVale McGee isn't there, and the Warriors cannot implement their switching scheme and hide Curry at the same time against a blitzing opponent. Draymond is a pest, but he's peskier to the opposition than he is to his own teammates.