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No Thunder on NBA All-Defensive Teams

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No love for Roberson, PG among voters

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The All-NBA Defensive teams for 2018, per Yahoo’s Shams Charania:

No Oklahoma City players were included. That will come as a surprise to some fans- Andre Roberson and Paul George are two of the best wing defenders in the league and had strong seasons. Roberson in particular was phenomenal- OKC had a defensive rating of 98.4 (meaning 98 points allowed per 100 possessions) when Robes was on the court (per Cleaning the Glass), a mark that would have led the NBA if sustained for the whole season. Unfortunately, Roberson’s season was cut short by injury after playing just 39 games- less than half the season, and likely not enough games to merit inclusions for most voters.

PG’s defensive rating wasn’t quite as dramatic (partly because George played a lot more minutes without Roberson than Roberson did without George), but he continued his career long trend of great defense, hounding the opposing teams best wing players night in and night out. He would’ve been a worthy inclusion, and he’s on the same level as a lot of the guys who did make it.

Defense remains much harder to quantify than offense in the NBA, and all the players who made the team are quality defenders and worthy inclusions. Had Roberson stayed healthy and the Thunder continued to play such airtight defense with him on the court, it’s likely he would have made the team, and possibly brought George with him. the All-Defensive teams are individual awards, but it’s easier to be seen as a great indivudal defender if your team is elite. OKC was certainly elite when Roberson played, but they fell off notably after his injury, and that probably hurt George’s chances.

Hopefully, a healthy Roberson can earn his first ever first-team nod next season (he was second-team last season). If Paul George elects to return to OKC, he could easily himself on the all-defensive team as well, as could Steven Adams, who’s continued to make huge strides as a rim protector. A healthy OKC could be the best defensive team in the league next year- if PG returns.

Poll

Should Roberson and George have been named to an All-Defense team?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    No to Robes, no to PG
    (20 votes)
  • 30%
    No to Robes, yes to PG
    (54 votes)
  • 29%
    Yes to Robes, yes to PG
    (53 votes)
  • 9%
    Yes to Robes, no to PG
    (16 votes)
  • 19%
    Where’s Melo?
    (34 votes)
177 votes total Vote Now