Memphis Grizzlies centre Marc Gasol has scooped his first ever NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.

Gasol finds himself at the centre of one of the league's best defences, and the Spaniard won recognition for his shot-blocking and all-round defensive positioning, receiving 212 points and 30 first-place votes.

Miami Heat's LeBron James was beaten into second with 149 points and 18 first-place votes. Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka was third with 122 points and 14 first-place votes.

Memphis coach Lionel Hollins told "Marc's played well. There's a lot of other guys that are worthy, you know. They saw fit to give Marc the award, and he was deserving."

Gasol averaged 1.7 shot blocks and 1.0 steals over the course of the regular season. He anchored the league's tightest defence - the Grizzlies allowed a league best 88.7 points-per-game.

The 28-year-old 7ft 1in centre was not named to this season's All-Star game, but he becomes the first player from the Grizzlies franchise to win the defensive award.

Another Grizzlies player also scooped significant numbers of votes on the ballot - Tony Allen picked up 102 points and nine first-place votes to finish in sixth spot while Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley got one point.

Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: