We're at the close of another NBA season, and I've already made most of my award picks in the round of ESPN.com voting that we had earlier this week.
But that still leaves one order of business to deal with: the All-Defense team.
In the past few years, I have found my votes to be very different from the coaches' in a few cases. I think there are two reasons for that: (1) The coaches' voting tends to be more focused on high-profile stars, and (2) there seems to be a significant lag time between accomplishment and recognition -- for one obvious example, Boston's Rajon Rondo wasn't an All-Defense pick either of the past two years but made my team both times. I expect he'll finally crack the list of coaches' choices this season.
I've used personal observation to inform most of these picks -- I've seen every team play between eight and 12 times start to finish on the tube and have caught nearly all of them in person as well.
Aiding me, however, are a few statistical barometers. First is team success -- it only follows that the best defensive players should largely come from the best defensive teams. The East's power trio of Cleveland, Boston and Orlando is neck and neck for the league lead in defensive efficiency, and each club is well-represented here.
Secondary helpers are two categories -- defensive on-court versus off-court differential (tip of the hat to 82games.com) and defensive adjusted plus-minus (thanks to basketballvalue.com). Both are good indicators over long periods of time, but both can be "noisy" in the short term -- stat-speak for a number that can deviate widely from its true value. As in, a player who might normally be worth +2.0 points per 48 minutes might show up as +6.0 one season and -2.0 the next.
Thus, we need my subjective element as well.
With that out of the way, let's get to the picks -- I've included each player's defensive adjusted plus-minus in parentheses. As usual, we'll start in the backcourt and work our way up: