DeAndre Jordan was named Best Defender at the inaugural NBA Players’ Awards on Tuesday.
Jordan was chosen by his fellow NBA players over Tony Allen, Anthony Davis and Jimmy Butler. Kawhi Leonard and Draymond Green, who came in first and second, respectively, for the league’s defensive player of the year award -- which is voted on by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters -- weren’t even finalists in the players’ votes.
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers had said in March that if Jordan didn’t win the defensive player of the year award, there needed to be an investigation. The center ended up coming in third for the honor.
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.”
Paul and Paul Pierce accepted the award for Jordan, who was not at the event. Paul joked that the center was still locked up, making light of the rumors over Twitter earlier in the month that a Clippers contingent had held Jordan hostage at his home in Houston when he backed out of his verbal commitment with the Dallas Mavericks in order to sign with the Clippers on July 8.
Paul also received an award, winning the Oscar Robertson Visionary Award for his on- and off-court achievements.
The Players’ Awards were created after multiple players complained that they should have a say in who wins the league’s awards.
In a press release in April, NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts explained why the players were creating their own award show.
“Our players have long wanted to recognize greatness from within their own ranks, and with the first-ever Basketball Players Awards we have created a vehicle for them to do so,” Roberts said. “The level of participation from players in the voting process has been overwhelming so far and we are looking forward to unveiling all of the results this July in Las Vegas.”