Brooklyn Nets Roundtable Sessions: Awards Part 4, Defense
Session 2, The Awards Segment, Part 4:
The Brook-Lin scribes are actively watching the playoffs keeping our sights on which free agents perform well and putting on our thinking caps for what this summer will bring. As the team gears up for the offseason we conducted a series of roundtable sessions reflecting back on the 2017-18 season. Although we’re looking at the NBA best we’ll also focus in on top Nets performers like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen and others.
In this the second segment the scribes make their selections for NBA Awards 2017-18. Additionally, we also take a look at if and when any Brooklyn Nets might find their names included in the end of season awards. In final awards segment we dive into defense. Our team picks Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) and examines where players like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Jarrett Allen factor.
Second and third place Joel Embiid and Robert Covington, respectively, made scoring on Philadelphia nearly impossible when both were in the lineup. However, winner Rudy Gobert made scoring at the rim in the halfcourt as easy as scooping drinking water from the Great Salt Lake.
Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz: He’s the best rim protector in the NBA, and his presence on the court for the Jazz spurned a jump from the tenth seed to the fifth seed in a loaded Western Conference.
Robert Covington, F, 76ers: RoCo was the best defensive wing in the NBA this year, and his ability to lock down any player from any spot on the floor was a big reason the 76ers become one of the top defenses in the NBA this year.
Anthony Davis, PF/C, New Orleans Pelicans: Davis somehow went to another level offensively this year while remaining a defensive force capable of protecting the paint and the perimeter with ease.
Rudy Gobert – no player affected his team more on/off court than Gobert. While the Jazz employed a more uptempo pace in Gobert’s absence his return vaulted Utah to the top of the defensive ranks for all teams.
Draymond Green – although the Warriors weren’t the defensive juggernaut of season’s past, as they progress through the playoffs we’ll learn why Green is such an integral part of the Warriors and why he is considered among the best all positional defender in the NBA.
Jrue Holiday – I like to include a guard or wing every season as part of the mix. As much as I’d love to input rookie small forward OG Anunoby here (in Kawhi Leonard‘s absence) the reality is he still needs to make his mark via another solid season. Holiday is an underrated defender who makes life miserable for the likes of Steph Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook with his length and lateral quickness. He gets the nod by virtue of those factors.
This will probably be the last year in a while when Jarrett Allen does not get this honor, as I’m going to go with Rondae Hollis-Jefferson here. He took the tougher forward assignment on defense pretty much every night, and his length not only makes it a challenge to score over him but also makes him a threat to jump opponents’ passing lanes at any time.
DeMarre Carroll had a bit of a revival in Brooklyn by fully adapting to his post-prime body and prioritizing smarts and hustle. Carroll could not move quite as nimbly as he did before but he knows opposing players’ tendencies and exploited his strength well. Plus, he donned the vital mantle of head communicator on defense.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson: There are a few candidates here, namely Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen, but ultimately Rondae Hollis-Jefferson stands alone. Since he entered the league, he’s been known as a hard-nosed defensive wing with the ability to shut down a variety of players. He has one of the best defensive box-plus-minus scores on the team and the team would be significantly worse off defensively without him.
I tend to agree with Nick Agar-Johnson on this potentially being Rondae Hollis-Jefferson’s last year garnering this honor over Jarrett Allen. That said, I can also envision Rondae Hollis-Jefferson doing the work to become a perennial All NBA Defender.
Does the above player have the potential to make the all defensive team? (now or in the future).
Both Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Jarrett Allen have the potential to make an All-Defensive team in the near future, and Caris LeVert might have an outside shot as well. Allen looked to be way ahead of schedule on the defensive end this season; with another two or three years in an NBA strength and conditioning program, Allen should be a candidate for an All-Defensive team for many years.
No, it is, in all likelihood, too late for DeMarre Carroll to reach elite heights again, despite his understated utility. If anyone can make the All-Defense team in the future from Brooklyn, it will be Jarrett Allen or Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. Both will need to make much needed gains in strength acquisition and reaction time. That said, both have a solid outline for making that path possible.
Yes. He surely needs to become a more disciplined defender on the perimeter and he could use help staying engaged. But, if he improves those skills he could easily be an All-Defense level player at some point. His chances may not be as great as someone like Jarrett Allen, but RHJ’s potential defensively is sky-high.
I believer either of Hollis-Jefferson or Allen could end up on an All NBA Defensive team. It will require hard work and consistent improvement. Although we’ve yet to witness how much Allen will improve in a full offseason he’s shown the propensity to be a quick learner and demonstrated dedication via strong work ethic. Neither or those elements are question marks for Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. He remains one of the hardest workers dedicated to improving each and every year.
Again, Nick and I are on the same page as Caris LeVert has the potential with his length to become a major pest for opponents. Think Jrue Holiday or Shaun Livingston as comparable examples.
Once Jarrett Allen bulks up and fills out that large frame, he’s going to be a defensive monster. Allen was 23rd in the league in total blocks this season. This, while only starting 31 games and seeing significantly less minutes than the players above him on the list. The rookie showcased great defensive instincts throughout the season. Allen has the potential to become one of the league’s best defensive bigs.