When the voting results were announced for Defensive Player of the Year, the full ballot indicated that Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley would have a good chance of earning All-Defensive team honors. The two players finished eighth and sixth, respectively, in DPOY voting.
As it turns out, both Leonard and Beverley were members of the All-Defensive second team. This is the third time Leonard has made the second team in addition to his three first-team selections. Beverley has now made the second team twice and was first team in 2017.
There was some belief that Leonard was deserving of a first-team selection this season, and it’s likely that was boxed out by positional designations. Most people consider Leonard a forward, and the top two DPOY candidates (Giannis Antetokounmpo and Anthony Davis) were both forwards, making it difficult for Leonard to make his way into the top five. Ben Simmons, Marcus Smart, and Rudy Gobert filled out the first team.
Leonard still earned 33 first-team votes in addition to 62 second-team votes — shame on the five voters who left him off their ballot altogether — and had the highest point total on the second team. Beverley earned 15 first-team votes and 30 second-team votes to place on the second team along with Brook Lopez, Bam Adebayo, and Eric Bledsoe.
Paul George also earned three second-team votes despite playing just 42 games before the restart.
The Clippers had not had an all-defense selection since 2017, when Chris Paul made the first team. Paul made the first team for six consecutive seasons as a Clipper. Could be the start of a similar streak for Leonard?