Marc Gasol wins Defensive Player of the Year – 2nd Grizzly to ever win a major NBA award
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In 2006, former Rookie of the Year Mike Miller won the NBA’s Most Improved Player award as a member of the Memphis Grizzlies. Not counting All-Rookie selections, that was the first major NBA award awarded to a member of the Grizzly franchise. 7 years later, Marc Gasol bring the franchise a 2nd award by becoming the first Grizzly to ever win Defensive Player of the Year.
In the 31 years since the first DPOY award was given out, only 16 players have ever won it. It’s typically been dominated by a handful of centers like Hakeem, Deke, Zo, Ben Wallace and more recently Dwight Howard who won it 3 straight years until Tyson Chandler won it last year. Unlike most of these past winners that put up gaudy numbers in the rebounds, blocks and steals category, Gasol’s defense, as well as his offense, is not celebrated by boxscore stats but impact on the court. If the award was given just off of stats then we would be talking about Larry Sanders or Serge Ibaka instead of Gasol who ranks 23rd in rebounds and 12 in blocks.
The LA Times considers Gasol the Most Underappreciateed Star in the NBA Playoffs, the NBA considers him The Defensive Player of the Year, Zach Randolph considers him the best center in the game, I consider him one of the best NBA success stories of the past decade. From being drafted in the 2nd round by the Lakers to being labeled a trade throw in to get his brother Pau to becoming a 2012 NBA All-Star.