While doing some research for a future post I got sidetracked looking at players who were named to the All-NBA and All-Defensive teams in the same season.
I thought the results were interesting, so I’m going to post them here with some commentary sprinkled in. Keep in mind that the league began naming All-Defensive teams following the 1968-69 season, so many all-time greats — most notably Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain — will be missing from these lists.
First, here are the players with the most dual All-NBA/All-Defensive selections:
The All-Defensive teams are a lot like Major League Baseball’s Gold Glove awards, in that:
- once a player gets selected he seems to continue to receive the honor even when his play has slipped, and
- even though it’s a defensive award, a player’s offense often seems to be a factor in the choices.
For example, last season Kobe Bryant was an All-Defensive First Team selection, but I have a very hard time believing that a 34-year-old with a lot of mileage on his legs was one of the two best backcourt defenders in the NBA.
Next, here are the players with the most consecutive dual All-NBA/All-Defensive selections:
Duncan pulled off this feat for 13 straight season, and then managed to do it again last season — at the age of 36 — after a two-year hiatus.
Now here are the players with the most dual All-NBA/All-Defensive First Team selections:
It’s hard to write off Kobe Bryant, but at this point I think it’s safe to say that Jordan’s record of nine First Team doubles is safe for at least four more seasons.
And here are the players with the most consecutive dual All-NBA/All-Defensive First Team selections:
Had Michael Jordan not left the NBA following the 1992-93 season to play outfield for the Birmingham Barons, he likely would have been named All-NBA/All-Defensive First Team for 11 straight seasons.
Jerry West was 30 years old and in his ninth season when the All-Defensive teams were first named, so the fact that his name shows up on the last two lists is somewhat remarkable.by