NBA All-Defensive Team: Jaren Jackson Jr. edges Adebayo by a point

Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)
Jaren Jackson Jr., Memphis Grizzlies (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images) /

Memphis Grizzlies star Jaren Jackson Jr. has been named to the 2021-22 NBA All-Defensive First Team, making him just the second player in franchise history to earn the honors.

The Grindfather himself, Tony Allen, was the team’s first (and previously only) player to be named NBA All-Defensive First Team, something he accomplished for his play during the 2012-13 season.

Jackson led the NBA in total blocks and blocks per game in the regular season, making him a darkhorse candidate for NBA Defensive Player of the Year, an award that eventually went to Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics.

With All-Defensive First Team honors, Jackson, 22, becomes the youngest player named to an NBA All-Defensive team since Dejounte Murray did so as a 21-year-old in the 2017-18 season. 

Memphis Grizzlies star Jaren Jackson squeaks into All-Defensive First Team

One key takeaway from Jackson earning these honors is the fact that he barely made it to the first team. It was close. Like, he made it by one point close.

The honors are voted on by NBA writers and broadcasters. A “first team” vote is tabulated as two points and a “second team” vote is tabulated as one point. The five players with the most votes are named All-Defensive First Team.

Jackson earned the fewest points of the five players named to the First Team:

  • Marcus Smart, 198 points
  • Mikal Bridges, 193 points
  • Rudy Gobert, 171 points
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo, 156 points
  • Jaren Jackson Jr.,153 points

The player who earned the sixth-most points was Miami’s Bam Adebayo, who finished with 152 points.

Adebayo earned two more votes for the first team than Jackson, but 5 fewer second-place votes, which was enough to be the difference between first team and second team.

At the end of the day, a win is a win for Jackson and the Grizzlies. Even though Adebayo got more votes for the first team, more voters considered the Grizzlies’ star to be worthy of being named to the team than Adebayo.

98 voters thought Jackson to be an NBA All-Defensive Team player, while just 95 voters considered Adebayo an All-Defensive player.

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