San Antonio Spurs teammates Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan were named to the 2014-15 NBA All-Defensive Team on May 20.

The Spurs have held their opponents below 100 points for a 20th straight season, per their official website. With Leonard and Duncan at the forefront of this defense, their accolade proves an NBA team can sustain excellence over a long period of time with the right pieces in place.

Here’s the final tally for the 2014-15 NBA All-Defensive First Team members, per NBA.com:

  1. Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs (242 points, 116 First Team votes)
  2. Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors (229 points, 107 First Team votes)
  3. Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies (207 points, 88 First Team votes)
  4. DeAndre Jordan, Los Angeles Clippers (187 points, 84 First Team votes)
  5. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers (170 points, 67 First Team votes)

Now here are the members of the 2014-15 NBA All-Defensive Second Team:

  1. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (47 First Team votes)
  2. Jimmy Butler, Chicago Bulls (44 First Team votes)
  3. Andrew Bogut, Golden State Warriors (33 First Team votes)
  4. John Wall, Washington Wizards (seven First Team votes)
  5. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs (five First Team votes)

The list of the NBA All-Defensive Team members reveals eight of them are from the Western Conference, per NBA.com.

With both Leonard and Duncan being recognized as two of the league’s best defenders, this marks the 12th time two Spurs made it to the All-NBA Defensive Team in the same season, per the team’s official website.

Their recognition also means Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich now has had 25 different players making it to the All-NBA Defensive Team since his first year on the job in 1996-97, per MySanAntonio.com’s Dan McCarney.

Leonard, the 2014-15 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, continues his rise to superstardom. It’s his second straight time to make it to the All-NBA Defensive Team. He also made a little bit of history as he’s just the sixth forward to lead the NBA in steals ever since the league first recorded this statistical category in 1973, per the Spurs’ official website.

Leonard averaged 2.31 steals per game during the 2014-15 NBA season. He had at least two steals in 37 games and at least four steals in 16 games, per NBA.com.

As for Duncan, he also re-wrote the NBA history books.

This is his 15th selection to the All-NBA Defensive team, the most in league history. This is three more than both Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett, per the Spurs’ official website.

Duncan has more selections than Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (11) and Scottie Pippen (10), per NBA.com.

According to the league’s official website, the 39-year-old Duncan is also the first player who is at least 38 years old to average 13.0 points, 9.0 rebonds and 1.5 blocks in a season. His 1.95 blocks per game is the highest average for players of that age bracket since the league first recorded that statistical category in 1973, per NBA.com.

For his part, Bogut earned a sweet reward for being named one of the NBA’s best defenders. ESPN’s Marc Stein reported on May 20 the Warriors center earned a bonus of $1,945,946 as stipulated in his contract.

In addition, he should have suited up in at least 65 games for him to get the bonus. Aside from making the All-NBA Defensive Team, Bogut would have gotten the extra money had he been named to first-, second- or third-team All-NBA, the All-Star team or NBA Defensive Player of the Year, per ESPN.

On the other hand, the Warriors’ defensive rating improved to 96.0 per 100 possessions with Green on the floor. Allen, the Grizzlies’ best wing defender, was third in the league in steals with a 2.05 average, per NBA.com.

Paul, the Clippers’ floor general, wound up fifth in steals average with 1.90 per game. His teammate, Jordan, was the NBA’s defensive rebounding leader with 10.1 per game. He finished fourth in blocks with 2.23 per game, per NBA.com.

A panel composed of 129 sportswriters and broadcasters across the United States and Canada conducted the voting, per the league’s official website.  

Spurs Future

 
With both Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan being named to the 2014-15 All-NBA Defensive Team, there are a few takeaways we can ponder on.

First, the Spurs’ excellence on the defensive end needs to be recognized. If a team has held the opposition to fewer than 100 points for 20 straight years, that’s saying something.

Say, you were a toddler when that first happened. That means by the time you would have graduated from college, the Spurs are still a defensive juggernaut.

Wow.

And how about Coach Pop adding to his list of 25 players who were recognized as the league’s best defenders?

This simply means the man knows how to recruit. Period. His five NBA titles are hard evidence of the old saying “defense wins championships.” This is something the Spurs clearly live and die with.

Leonard, who also led the Spurs in scoring at 16.5 per game in 2014-15, is clearly a two-way player who will only get better. He’s like San Antonio’s version of Scottie Pippen. If he keeps this up, he could very well be a Hall of Famer once his playing days are over.

Speaking of which, Duncan is a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer. He continues to defy Father Time. If you average 13.0 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.95 blocks like he did this season and if you manage to keep your body healthy, then come back in 2015-16, by all means.

Duncan earned $10.4 million in 2014-15 and is now an unrestricted free agent, per HoopsHype.com. It’s clear to everybody the man can still play. With San Antonio getting ousted in the first round by the Clippers in the playoffs, that must have left a very bad taste in his mouth.

Who knows? If he comes back next season, he and Leonard could find themselves on the All-NBA Defensive Team once again.

And possibly a sixth NBA title for the Spurs.

 

Join the Conversation