Kawhi Leonard headlines NBA All-Defensive First Team selections

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Kawhi Leonard has been unanimously voted to the NBA All-Defensive First Team following his Defensive Player of the Year win only a few weeks ago.

According to, Leonard helped San Antonio hold opponents to a league-low 92.9 points per game. The Spurs also finished with the NBA's best defensive rating, allowing 96.6 points per 100 possessions. Their defensive rating improved to 94.9 when Leonard was on the hardwood and fell to 99.2 when he wasn't - a difference of 4.3 points per 100 possessions. That's a profound influence by anyone's standards.

The San Antonio Spurs man is the only player this season to receive all 130 First Team votes (260 total points) from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters in the United States and Canada. At 6'7", the small forward has established himself as a lockdown defender in the league and his DPOY gong was his second on the bounce.

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The runner-up to that award this season was Draymond Green, and there's also a spot for the enigmatic Golden State Warriors forward in the first unit. The Dubs No. 23 weighed in with 123 first team votes but the only real surprise came in the form of DeAndre Jordan's inclusion at the pivot over shot-blocking machine Hassan Whiteside.

Jordan 137 first team votes as opposed to the 44 that Whiteside recieved and this is the second year in a row that the Clippers center has made his way into the illustrious lineup.

The back court features another Clippers player in point guard Chris Paul 59 first team votes, but the guard with the most votes in the NBA was Avery Bradley of the Boston Celtics. Although they are the most succeessful franchise in league history title-wise, not many people had high expectations for Boston at the beginning of this term.

However, Bradley was a pivotal part to Brad Stevens' organised unit and their stingy defence was a vital part of what took them to the playoffs - and Isaiah Thomas.

The NBA All-Defensive Second Team consists of forwards Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks (11 First Team votes) and Paul George of the Indiana Pacers (five First Team votes), center Whiteside of the Miami Heat (44 First Team votes) and guards Tony Allen of the Memphis Grizzlies (121 points, 44 First Team votes) and Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls (62 points, 18 First Team votes).

Many critics have suggested Butler didn't perform to his full capabilities last term as Chicago missed the playoffs. However, this nod will surely inspire the shooting guard with a confidence boost following the end of a difficult year.

Tony Allen continues to enhance his reputation as a top-tier defender in the NBA with his fifth nod to an All-Defensive team. The Grizzlies man has three First Team selections and two Second Team nods down the years and the legendary Kobe Bryant called him the toughest defender he ever faced.

The results are calibrated by the votes players receive at the positions they typically play the most. Voters selected one player at all five positions andm subsequently, players were awarded two points for each First Team vote and one point for each Second Team vote.

Chris Paul
LA Clippers
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Paul George
Indiana Pacers
Central Division
Eastern Conference

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