According to Chris Vernon, Marc Gasol will win Defensive Player of the Year for 2012-13.
I was just told that Marc Gasol will be named NBA Defensive Player of Year— Chris Vernon (@ChrisVernonShow) April 22, 2013
Most fans don't identify with Gasol as one of the top defensive players in the NBA, but his ability to affect a game on the defensive side of the ball without playing above the rim is what has won him the award. Here's what Mike Prada said in an earlier post about Gasol's defense after a win over the Los Angeles Clippers:
Spend a game ignoring the ball and just focus on what he does on the defensive end of the court. Do that enough times, and you too will see why he's a basketball savant.
Compared to the Serge Ibaka's and Larry Sanders' of the NBA, he's not a great shot blocker. Gasol only averaged 1.3 per game this season which qualified for 12th best in the league. And due to his versatility defending away from the basket, he only averages 7.8 rebounds per game, which isn't even top-20 in the league.
But Marc's impact shows in the numbers: when Gasol is on the floor, the Memphis Grizzlies defensive rating goes from it's average of 97.4 to 95.4. When he's off the floor it increases to 102.2. On the season Marc posted the 5th best defensive rating in the league (98.5) and was second best in Defensive Win Shares (5.4) behind Indiana's Paul George.
When Marc missed a few games after re-aggravating his abdominal tear we saw his true impact on the defensive side of the ball despite the Grizzlies having Tony Allen, who's arguably the best defender in the entire league.
But between Marc's pick-and-roll defense, his off-ball defense, or him guiding his teammates along defensively, it's a joy to see Gasol honored with this award though competing in a small NBA market. He truly deserved.
Also this happened.