CBSSports.com has reported that Marc Gasol will win the NBA Defensive Player of The Year award. This marks the fifth straight year that a center has won the award. Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks won the award last year, and Dwight Howard won the award for three straight years prior to that dating back to his days with the Orlando Magic.
While Gasol averaged just 7.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks a game, his ability to guard the paint and basket made the most impact for a Memphis team who finished number 1 in scoring defense, allowing opponents just 89.5 points a game.
The most telling stat for Gasol’s impact is that the Grizzlies allowed just 95.4 points per 100 possessions with Gasol in the game, compared to allowing 105.9 points per 100 possessions with him off the floor.
Since being traded as part of a package deal for his brother, Pau, Gasol has made a steady improvement every year. Last season, Gasol was named to his first all-star team, and now has established himself as the leader of the Memphis defense, a team that already has great defensive players like Tony Allen, Mike Conley, and Zach Randolph.
The Grizzlies are currently down 1-0 to the Los Angeles Clippers. Game 2 is set for Monday night.