Let the investigation begin.
On Thursday, the
"He's clearly the defensive player of the year," Rivers said of Jordan in March. "If anybody else gets that award, we need to have an investigation. ... What he's doing defensively, if he was doing that offensively, he would be recognized as the MVP or one of them, but because it's defense, no one notices."
Jordan averaged 11.5 points on 71% shooting, a league-leading 15 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots. His teammates say that those stats tell only part of the story, arguing that most of what he does doesn't even show up in the stats.
"You look at the stat sheet and you don't see how many times [Chicago Bulls point guard] Aaron Brooks didn't drive because D.J. was there, or how many shots where guys went up and they passed it," Chris Paul said in March. "That doesn't show up on the stat sheet."
This is not the only honor that Rivers thinks Jordan was passed over for this season. Rivers campaigned in January for Jordan to make the All-Star team for the first time in his career, but Jordan didn't make the cut in the fan vote or the coaches vote.
Said Rivers in January: "Every coach tells you that they want their players to sacrifice and be All-Star role players, then you have a guy that actually does it and they don't reward him. It just makes no sense to me. I'm trying to get the coaches to back their talk up basically and vote for DJ."
When Blake Griffin was sidelined for 15 games because of a staph infection in his right elbow that required surgery, Jordan stepped up big time. He had successive 20-20 performances, with 22 points and 27 rebounds on Feb. 9, and 24 points and 20 rebounds on Feb. 11. The following game, he fell two rebounds shy of another 20-20 game, finishing with 26 points and 18 rebounds. In Griffin's absence, Jordan had 15 or more rebounds in 13 of the team's 15 games.
Jordan has never won the defensive player of the year award, and last season he didn't even make the all-defensive team.
The Clippers' center, however, did have some stiff competition for the award.
Leonard, who missed 18 games because of a torn ligament in his right hand, averaged 16.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 0.8 blocks and 2.3 steals. Without Leonard, the Spurs were 7-8, and when they got him back they went on a 10-3 run.