As bad as yesterday’s Game 2 defeat at the hands of the Clippers was, at least one good thing did happen in Grizzly land; Marc Gasol won Defensive Player Of The Year.
If you saw him play this season, you know this was a well-deserved. Gasol has been an absolute beast defensively for the Grizzlies this season, routinely shutting down the most talented players on the opposing teams. Throughout the year, it had become commonplace for stars like LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki, and Dwight Howard to be made into mere mortals against mighty Marc (I’m taking an alliteration class over the internet – what do you think?)
Gasol was an all-star last season, and now, he’s been crowned as the top defensive player in the league. It’s clear that after years of being seen (unfairly, I might add) as the Jimmie Vaughn to Pau’s Stevie Ray (not that Jimmie is bad, don’t want to offend any fabulous Thunderbirds fans who might read this blog), the mainstream NBA press has finally realized that Marc Gasol is a very good player. A key part – maybe the key part – to one of the top teams in the NBA. This begs the question of whether he’ll awarded with a spot on one of this year’s All-NBA teams.
He probably should have received that honor last year, but the third and final center spot went to Tyson Chandler, who was last year’s DPOY. The odds him being ignored for this honor a second straight year seem decidedly slim. He has the benefit of name recognition this time around, and frankly, you can’t tell me any center was decisively better this year. Brook Lopez was excellent, as was Joakim Noah. Had Chandler stayed healthy all season long, he’d be in the mix again. Dwight Howard was off his usual game, but still very good this year, although personally, I think it would be a joke if he gets first-team again. He was good, but not dominant, and he didn’t help the Lakers anywhere near as much as Marc helped the Grizzlies.
But all of that will be decided later on. for now, Marc Gasol is your 2012-13 Defensive Player of The Year, and even as their tea as stuck in 2-0 hole against the Clippers, Grizzlies fans have something to cheer about.