Pacers slighted in All-Defensive vote
Pacers swingman Paul George was voted to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team, the NBA announced Monday. But the news was bittersweet to head coach Frank Vogel and the rest of the Pacers because center Roy Hibbert failed to make either team and the group felt George was worthy of First Team honors.
“It feels good,” George, 23, said. “I take a lot of pride in my defense…That recognition will make me work to get First Team next year.”
David West, the elder statesman of the team, was completely thrown off guard when he was informed of the news.
“He didn’t?” West asked, completely baffled. Then, he shook his head in disbelief and with frustration for his teammate, he only offered up “no comment,” five seconds later.
The Pacers have the league’s best field goal percentage defense (42 percent) and are second in points allowed (90.7). Somehow, it appears that was disregarded as neither made the First Team and Hibbert was left off altogether. The defensive teams were voted by the 30 head coaches, with two points awarded for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote. Coaches could not vote for players on their own team.
“It is what it is,” said Hibbert. “I’m going to play defense and I’m happy for Paul. He deserves it.
“Man, nobody cares about big dawg. If I was in a different city, [and had] a bigger name, maybe.”
George felt for his teammate.
“We both should have made it,” he said. “Easily, Roy’s been the best center defensively at guarding the rim. He should of made it. If I made it, he should of made it.”
Memphis guard Tony Allen led the way with 53 points and 25 first place votes. Miami’s LeBron James, Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka, Chris Paul of the Clippers, New York’s Tyson Chandler and Chicago’s Joakim Noah compiled the First Team. Marc Gasol, the 2013 Defensive Player of the Year as voted on by the media, wasn’t First Team worthy, according to the head coaches. He received the third-most votes for a center and made the Second Team.
Ultimately, it’s about the team and they all understand that. But from Vogel on down, they can’t help but feel slighted by the results … for both guys.
“I’m happy for Paul,” Vogel said. “… as a third-year player. It’s very, very impressive, it’s very, very deserving. I think he’s a first-team member myself. I think he will be a first-team member for many years to come. As for Roy not being on either one of those teams, all I’ll say is that there’s not a center in this league I’d rather have on my team defensively than Roy Hibbert.”
George, who defends the opponent’s best player all game long in every game, tallied the fifth-most votes (27), including seven for the First Team. Hibbert garnered two First Team votes and just six points.