Most of what I’ve had to say about these guys, I said in my companion piece about the end-of-season awards.
I will say this: Picking All-Defense is so subjective and I can only watch so many games, so there is a lot of shot-in-the-dark and a lot of “in case of argument, let Basketball Reference be the final arbiter” that I’m convinced there’s no way to try and rank defenders on anything other than reputation, fan bias, or woefully inadequate counting stats like steals and blocks.
Defensive Rating tends to overweight players on good defensive teams. Steals and blocks are just part of this balanced defensive breakfast; they are not the whole meal (see “Westbrook comma Russell”, but he cannot be ignored.) Gambling for steals can sometimes lead to atrocious defenders who get scored on at will looking like Defensive Player of the Year just because their stats get goosed.
And the NBA’s insistence on still including center as a distinct position made especially All-Rookie decisions a lot harder.
Oh, and Anthony Davis is a power forward. I’m just going to leave that out there and let you guys fight me over it. He played a lot of center minutes after DeMarcus Cousins got hurt, but he is a forward. Likewise, I’m going to come right out and say Jokic is the most polarizing player in the league because his eye test looks terrible but his stats say he’s elite.
Also, Robert Covington is the most underrated defender in the league and I will plant my flag on RoCo Hill and defend it against all comers.
F Anthony Davis
F Robert Covington
G Victor Oladipo
F Giannis Antetokounmpo
F Anthony Davis
G Ben Simmons
G Dennis Smith Jr.