Giannis Antetokounmpo headlines NBA’s All-Defensive teams, P.J. Tucker snubbed

Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images /

The NBA has announced its two All-Defensive teams for the 2019-20 season.

The results are in for the NBA‘s All-Defensive teams for the 2019-20 season, and there are plenty of familiar, expected faces among the 10 selections.

Defensive Player of the Year Giannis Antetokounmpo, former two-time DPOY Rudy Gobert, Anthony Davis, Marcus Smart and Ben Simmons headline the All-Defensive First Team.

Patrick Beverley, Eric Bledsoe, former two-time DPOY Kawhi Leonard, Bam Adebayo and Brook Lopez round out the All-Defensive Second Team, giving the Milwaukee Bucks three selections among the two teams.

Here’s a look at how the voting shook out in the top 10:

This was Giannis’ second All-Defensive First Team selection and his fourth overall. The same goes for Anthony Davis. Surprisingly, this was Gobert’s first time on the All-Defensive First Team despite winning DPOY twice in his career. Smart has now made the First Team in two straight seasons, his only two selections thus far.

Beverley now has two Second Team and two First Team selections to his name, as does Leonard. Bledsoe has one of each, while this was first selection to either All-Defensive squad for Simmons, Adebayo and Lopez.

P.J. Tucker and the Toronto Raptors were snubbed from the NBA’s All-Defensive Teams

Giannis, Gobert, AD, Smart and Simmons were no-brainers for one of the NBA’s two All-Defensive teams, and in all honesty, they were probably the five best choices for the First Team. The Second Team is where there were a few surprising snubs.

The biggest snub is P.J. Tucker, who has been the defensive lynchpin that makes the Houston Rockets’ revolutionary small-ball experiment work. Though Tucker only averaged 6.6 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 0.5 blocks per game this season, his impact on the defensive end extends far beyond the stat sheet. His strength and stamina in manning the 5-spot is the only reason Houston’s ultra-small lineups work, and he’s a capable defender at positions 1-5. That common theme from the regular season is predictably showing up big in the postseason for the NBA’s No. 1 playoff defense.

Leaving him off the Second Team is a massive joke. Kawhi Leonard is known as a stout defender, but over the last two seasons, his reputation as a lockdown presence on the wing has exceeded his actual output and effort on that end. The LA Clippers were one of the NBA’s top defenses this year, so between that and his status as a former two-time DPOY, the power of his name most likely propelled him past someone like Tucker, who was simply more deserving this year.

Tucker was the first forward left off the list, finishing with 29 voting points. Kris Dunn of the Chicago Bulls (31 voter points) was the first guard left out.

Raptors fans may also have a legitimate gripe that not a single Toronto player made the All-Defensive teams, given that the Raptors were the NBA’s second-ranked defense this year. Having three Bucks makes sense for what was the league’s stingiest defense by a wide margin, and Giannis, Bledsoe and Lopez were all deserving, but it’s a bit odd to not have a single player from the NBA’s second-best defense.

With that being said, this is a pretty loaded group of defenders, so it’s hard to argue for Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby or Pascal Siakam to individually make the cut over those other 10 (plus P.J. Tucker) when Toronto was such an elite team defense.

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