Anthony Davis has been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team, the league announced on Tuesday before the Lakers played Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals. Davis is the first Laker to make the first team since Kobe Bryant did so in 2011, and joins Bryant (nine selections), Michael Cooper (five), Jerry West (four), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (three) and Wilt Chamberlain (two) among Lakers players to make the first team.
The Lakers, the third-best defense in the entire NBA this season, somehow had no other players named to any of the All-Defensive Teams. Avery Bradley and LeBron James both received some votes, however.
Okay, accidentally missed down below the first time, here are all the other players getting votes. LeBron did get some. pic.twitter.com/rNpmwj9Mnc— Playoff Faigen (@hmfaigen) September 8, 2020
Anthony Davis received the second most amount of votes for the All-Defensive 1st Team, trailing only Giannis pic.twitter.com/hrIeL2rheU— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) September 8, 2020
As our own Christian Rivas noted earlier, Davis posted the third-most blocks (143), second-highest defensive rating (101.8), second-most defensive win shares (4.4) and third-best in defensive box plus-minus in the entire NBA during the regular season this year.
In addition to those statistics making this a bit of a foregone conclusion, this was also a predictable honor for Davis because he already finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting behind Giannis Antetokounmpo, an award Lakers head coach Frank Vogel argued this week that Davis should have won.
But regardless of whether you think he’s the Defensive Player of the Year or not, Davis making this team is a deserved honor. He is one of — if the the single-most — versatile defenders in the entire NBA, a seven-footer capable of guarding all five positions on the floor, and a truly transformative talent on the defensive end of the floor. There is just no one in the league with Davis’ combination of smoothness, agility and defensive instincts, and for him to not make the first team would have been a travesty that called the integrity of the voting process into question.
The voters got this one right — well, at least when it comes to Davis — because after the year he had, there is just no way that this honorary team would have been complete without his presence.