NBA Defensive Superstars

The NBA just announced that Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. That makes sense, since he was the cornerstone of a great defensive team that finished 1st in points allowed with just 91.8 per game. The Bulls also finished 10th in both rebounds and assists per game. As for Noah individually, he ended the regular season with 12.6 points, 11.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. With those numbers, do you think he truly deserved the Defensive Player of the Year Award? Let’s look at some other guys that could have been deserving for their play this year.

DeAndre Jordan- The L.A. Clippers’ center had a career-defining year. He scored a career-high 10.4 points per game and led the NBA in rebounds with 13.6 per game and in field goal percentage with 67.6 percent. Not only that, but he also had a career-high 2.5 blocks per game, which was 3rd in the NBA. He also average a steal a game, which is pretty rare for a big guy like him. The Texas A&M product should get some high recognition for how he aided superstar teammates like Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. This astounding season should not be overlooked and the 25-year-old from Houston, Texas has plenty of years like this ahead.

Anthony Davis- In his second season in the NBA, the 21-year-old from Kentucky is already making noise. Davis finished first in the NBA with 2.8 blocks per game. He also started 66 games and averaged 35 minutes a game, showing that he is an integral part of the New Orleans franchise. His 20.8 points, 10 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game were also very impressive. I’m sure this guy will have a chance to win this award somewhere in the near future.

Paul Millsap- His first season at Atlanta will always be remembered as a memorable one. The former Utah Jazz power forward finished the regular season with a career-high 17.9 points, 3.1 assists and 6.4 defensive rebounds. The new Atlanta Hawk also made his first ever All-Star game appearance after 7 years in the league. He also averaged 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. He’s the only player in the NBA with numbers like that until you get to DeMarcus Cousins who averaged 1.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. For Millsap, you couldn’t have asked for more production in your first season with a new team.

Andre Drummond- Like Davis, Drummond is also a second-year player out of Connecticut and he has already made a big impact in the NBA. The center for the Detroit Pistons has been a force on the defensive side of the ball with 1.6 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. He also had a career-high 13.5 points and 13.2 rebounds per game this year. Although the Pistons had a terrible season, it should not overshadow Drummond’s efforts.

I guess the main reason why Noah ultimately won Defensive Player of the Year was because of his impact to the whole team. Chicago has one of the best defenses in the NBA, all because of him. Every night, Noah gives 100 percent effort and that’s why his Bulls are thriving even without scorers like Derrick Rose and Luol Deng. Some other players you could have thrown in the mix for this award could be Chris Paul (led the NBA in steals per game), Serge Ibaka, Paul George, but Noah definitely deserves this award. Now we wait for Rookie-of-the-Year and MVP (which should be Kevin Durant in my opinion).


MLS Quarter Update

It’s almost a quarter of a way through the MLS regular season and things are starting to heat up for certain teams. Let’s go through the top teams and the top games that have been played so far. Clubs are beginning to establish their dominance in the league, so let’s see what has made them so dominant so far.

One of the most exciting games recently was when FC Dallas defeated Toronto FC 2-1 thanks to a late game-winning goal by Blas Perez in the 88th minute. Perez entered in the 70th minute for David Texeira and scored his third goal of the season when the ball fell to his feet 3 yards from the goal line and the rest was history. With that win, Dallas stays on top of the Western Conference table with a 5-1-1 record. Perez actually sat out of the 3-2 loss to Seattle back in April 12, because of a hamstring injury. For him to come back from injury and rejuvenate the Dallas club was crucial to this team’s recent success. They lead the league in goals scored with 17. As for Toronto, they stay even at 3-3, but they are still 3rd in the Eastern Conference table with that standing.

The 33-year-old from Panama has started 4 games and has recorded 3 goals and 1 assist this season. Credit:
The 33-year-old from Panama has started 4 games and has recorded 3 goals and 1 assist this season.

Staying in the Eastern Conference, defending MLS Cup champions Sporting Kansas City takes a share of the top seed with Columbus after a 4-0 drubbing of the winless Montreal Impact. Dom Dwyer of Kansas City scored the last two goals of the game in the 74th and 86th minute. He has now scored four goals in his last four matches.

Kansas City would have remained alone at the top if it were not for Hector Jimenez of the Columbus Crew scoring in the 90th minute against D.C. United to tie it up at a 1-1 draw. They were able to pull through even with just 10 men on the pitch after Bernardo Anor was sent off for a two-footed tackle on Perry Kitchen in the 81st minute. Both Columbus and Kansas City play Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. Columbus will play at home against New York while Kansas City will travel to New England.

Two of the top goal scorers in the league squared off when Seattle took on Chivas USA. Dempsey is tied with Erick Torres with 6 goals. The Sounders won the battle and improved to a 4-1-2 record after Clint Dempsey found Obafemi Martins in the 81st for the game-winner.

Another late rally could be found at the Vancouver Whitecaps and L.A. Galaxy game. After an explosive 2nd half, the Whitecaps rallied back to break even with the Galaxy in the 86th minute for a 2-2 draw. Substitute player Kekuta Manneh scored the game-tying goal to put Vancouver on top of the L.A. Galaxy in the Western Conference standings. The Whitecaps are 2-3-2 while the Galaxy drop to 2-2-1.

Wednesday night should bring a lot more action from the MLS. Teams are fighting for top position and some other teams are trying to get out of their early season slumps. Look for superstars like Dempsey and Jermain Defoe to step up their game as the middle of the season inches closer. Stay tuned!