2018-19 NBA All-Defensive Team: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George headline first team
Rudy Gobert, Marcus Smart and Eric Bledsoe round out the first team
The NBA's new awards show means we won't learn the winners of major honors such as MVP and Rookie of the Year until after the NBA Finals are over. Other end-of-the-year distinctions such as the All-Rookie team and All-Defensive team, however, are not a part of that program and are still announced during the playoffs.
Eric Bledsoe, Bucks
Jrue Holiday, Pelicans
Marcus Smart, Celtics
Klay Thompson, Warriors
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
Draymond Green, Warriors
Paul George, Thunder
Kawhi Leonard, Raptors
Rudy Gobert, Jazz
Joel Embiid, 76ers
The 2018-19 NBA All-Defensive first team is highlighted by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George and Rudy Gobert, all of whom are finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year Award, which will be handed out next month. Rounding out the first team are Marcus Smart and Eric Bledsoe, two tenacious backcourt defenders.
Antetokounmpo and George are among the finalists for the MVP trophy as well. This is the third straight season that Gobert has been named to the first team, while George is making his second first-team appearance. This is the first first-team honor for Antetokounmpo, Bledsoe and Smart.
It's little surprise to see two members of the Bucks, the NBA's top defense this season, on the first team. This is the first time the Bucks have had two players named to the first team since 1986, when Paul Pressey and Sidney Moncrief made first team for the second consecutive season.
As is always the case with these types of awards, there were a number of, shall we say, humorous votes as well. James Harden and Kyrie Irving each received votes at the guard position, while Jordan Bell received a vote at forward despite playing 11 minutes a game.
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