SAN ANTONIO – Spurs Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green have earned spots on the NBA’s All-Defensive Team announced by the league Monday.
Leonard, an All-NBA forward, was named to the first team for the third consecutive season and Green, a guard, landed a spot on the second team. It is the first NBA honor for Green, one of the best 3-and-D players in the league.
The four other players named to the first team were forward Draymond Green (Golden State), center Rudy Gobert (Utah) and guards Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers) and Patrick Beverley (Houston).
Guard Tony Allen (Memphis), center Anthony Davis (New Orleans) and forwards Andre Roberson (Oklahoma City) and Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee) joined Danny Green on the second unit. Roberson is a 2010 Wagner High School graduate.
Leonard, who turns 26 on Thursday, has been named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year each of the past two seasons and was a finalist for the award this year. He is the only Spur to ever win multiple Defensive Player of the Year awards. Draymond Green won this season's award.
Leonard was also a finalist for the MVP award, but Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook took the honor. Houston Rockets guard James Harden was the other MVP finalist. Leonard's rejection of a layup by Harden in the final seconds of the Spurs' 112-110 victory over the Rockets on March 7, was voted the season's Block of the Year in a vote by fans.
The NBA announced the winners of its individual awards in a live TV show Monday night. Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni was named Coach of the Year, beating out Gregg Popovich of the Spurs and Eric Spoelstra of the Miami Heat.
Monty Williams, the Spurs' vice president of basketball operations, received the first Sager Strong Award, named after late TNT Sports sideline reporter Craig Sager, who died of leukemia last December. Williams' wife, Ingrid, was killed in a car crash in February 2016.
Leonard has made the All-Defensive Team each of the last four seasons, starting the run with second-team honors in 2013-14. He went on to become Finals MVP that season when the Spurs beat the Miami Heat for their fifth league crown.
Leonard is the first San Antonio player to be named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team in three consecutive seasons since Bruce Bowen made the team five straight seasons (2003-2008). He was one of only three players to finish the season with at least 130 steals and 50 blocks. Giannis Antetokounmpo and Draymond Green were the other two.
Leonard averaged 1.78 steals and 0.74 blocks in his sixth season with the Spurs. He also averaged a career-highs of 25.5 points and 3.5 assists to go along with 5.8 rebounds in 33.4 minutes. Leonard shot .485 (636-1,311) from the floor, .381 (147-386) from the three-point line and a personal-best .880 (469-533) from the free-throw line.
Danny Green’s first career selection makes him the second guard and the eighth player in Spurs history to be named to an All-Defensive Team, joining George Johnson, Alvin Robertson, David Robinson, Dennis Rodman, Tim Duncan, Bowen and Leonard. An eight-year pro, Green averaged 1.04 steals and 0.85 blocks to go along with 7.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 26.6 minutes. He shot .379 (118-311) from beyond the arc.
Green, who turned 30 on June 22, is the only guard in the NBA to have at least 50 steals and 50 blocks in each of the last five seasons. He is one of four players in Spurs history with at least 350 steals and 350 blocks in his career. The other three are George Gervin, Robinson and Duncan.
Leonard and Green anchored a Spurs defense that allowed 98.1 points per game, second best in the league, and held opponents under 100 points in 44 contests. They helped lead the team to a 61-21 record, giving the Silver and Black their first back-to-back 60-win seasons in franchise history.
San Antonio held opponents under 100 points per game for a league-record 22nd straight season and reached the playoffs for the 20th consecutive year, the longest active streak in the four major U.S. sports and tied for the third-best in NBA history. The Spurs have now been represented on the NBA All-Defensive Team in 27 of the last 30 seasons.
San Antonio reached the Western Conference Finals in its first season without Duncan, who retired last July. Considered the greatest power forward in basketball history, Duncan played 19 seasons with the Silver and Black and is the only Spur to play on all five of the franchise's championship teams.
Golden State swept the Silver and Black in the West finals, but the Spurs led the Warriors by 23 points in Game 1 when Leonard was sidelined for the remainder of the series after reinjuring his sprained left ankle with 7:55 left in the third quarter. San Antonio already was without veteran point guard Tony Parker, who ruptured a tendon in his left quadriceps in Game 2 of the conference semifinals against Houston.
© 2017 KENS-TV