Andrew Bogut is not among the top 10 defenders in the NBA.
Broadly speaking, that’s what being left off the NBA’s two All-Defense teams means. On a smaller scale, it means coaches don’t view him as one of the top two defensive centers in the NBA, as only one center is chosen for each team. Dwight Howard has the first team spot on lock for as long as he wants it, so really, Bogut was in a race for second. The coaches went with Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler for the second team slot though.
With only two center spots available, earning an All-Defense spot at center is a tough task. So while it’s disappointing the anchor for the fourth best defensive team in the NBA didn’t make the cut, it’s understandable. Bogut’s total votes? That’s where it seems reality has abandoned the coaches.
Andrew Bogut, league leading shot-blocker who just one year ago was beginning to garner some recognition as one of the league’s finest centers, received just one second team vote. That’s it. Seven players that could be classified as centers received more votes than Bogut: Howard (56), Chander (17), Joakim Noah (15), Tim Duncan (11), Chuck Hayes (10), Al Horford (7) and Kendrick Perkins (3).
In addition, Derrick Rose, universally regarded as a weak, but improved, defender this season, received 14 votes.
This seems to illustrate a few things:
1. Team Improvement = Big Deal
Dallas had the league’s 12 ranked defense last season. This season, they improved to 8 and Chandler received the majority of the credit. He’s successfully harnessed his exceptional athletic skills to become a top notch rotator and weak side shot-blocker. Dallas is playing deeper into the playoffs than they have since their NBA Finals run in 2006 and it’s largely due to their defensive improvements behind Chandler. It’s an easy way to quantify the importance of one player on the side of the ball that’s much more difficult to quantify.
At the same time, the Bulls improvement under Coach Tom Thibodeau from 11 to 1 in defensive rating boded well for Rose and Noah.
2. Team Success = Big Deal
Notice anything those names in front of Bogut have in common? With the exception of Hayes, everyone’s favorite undersized, battler center, each of those players plays for a playoff team. An individual NBA award where team success heavily influences the voting? I’m shocked. That’s virtually always the case though.
Despite the fact that All-Defensive voting should merely be measuring the best defenders, Bogut was punished for playing on the worst offensive team in the NBA. Milwaukee’s win total dropped by 11 because it had no idea how to put the ball through the hoop on a regular basis. The buzz was gone and the spotlight faded. So suddenly, Bogut went from the second best center in the league to an afterthought as a defender despite leading the league in blocked shots. And Derrick Rose goes from laughable sieve of a defender to leading vote getter amongst those who failed to make either team.
Simply put, this is all a little silly. Arguing and hand-wringing over these awards and teams is about as beneficial as yelling from the crowd for a timeout.
Perhaps voting should be split amongst guards and forward/centers as to not slight the various capable defenders amongst bigs in the NBA, but it’s unlikely we’ll ever see the system change. Whatever the case, a system in which coaches end up illustrating that Derrick Rose is a better defender than Andrew Bogut is goofy.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com. Follow him on Twitter then become a fan on Facebook (on the right).