2018-19 NBA All-Defensive Team: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George headline first team


The NBA’s new awards show means we won’t learn the winners of major honors such as MVP and Rookie of the Year until after the NBA Finals are over. Other end-of-the-year distinctions such as the All-Rookie team and All-Defensive team, however, are not a part of that program and are still announced during the playoffs. 

On Tuesday, the league announced the All-Rookie teams, which, to no surprise, were led by Luka Doncic and Trae Young. Now, we know the 10 players selected to this season’s All-Defensive team. 

2018-19 NBA All-Defensive Teams

The 2018-19 NBA All-Defensive first team is highlighted by Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George and Rudy Gobert, all of whom are finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year Award, which will be handed out next month. Rounding out the first team are Marcus Smart and Eric Bledsoe, two tenacious backcourt defenders. 

Antetokounmpo and George are among the finalists for the MVP trophy as well. This is the third straight season that Gobert has been named to the first team, while George is making his second first-team appearance. This is the first first-team honor for Antetokounmpo, Bledsoe and Smart. 

It’s little surprise to see two members of the Bucks, the NBA’s top defense this season, on the first team. This is the first time the Bucks have had two players named to the first team since 1986, when Paul Pressey and Sidney Moncrief made first team for the second consecutive season. 

The 2018-19 NBA All-Defensive second team features Jrue Holiday and Klay Thompson in the backcourt, while Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green and Joel Embiid take the honors for the frontcourt. 

As is always the case with these types of awards, there were a number of, shall we say, humorous votes as well. James Harden and Kyrie Irving each received votes at the guard position, while Jordan Bell received a vote at forward despite playing 11 minutes a game.

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