Jaren Jackson Jr. Is The Kia NBA Defensive Player Of The Year For The 2022-23 Season

NBA ARTICLES » Jaren Jackson Jr. Is The Kia NBA Defensive Player Of The Year For The 2022-23 Season
Jaren Jackson Jr. is the Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the 2022-23 season.

The Memphis big man, who led the league in blocks with 3.0 per game, beat off Brook Lopez of Milwaukee and Evan Mobley of Cleveland to win the title.

Jaren Jackson Jr. of Memphis blocked more shots per game than anybody else this season, and he also had superior defensive metrics around the rim than anyone else.

Jaren Jackson Jr., the big man for the Memphis Grizzlies was named the winner of the Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy as the 2022-23 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year on Monday night. He is the second player to earn the honor while playing for the Grizzlies. In doing so, he follows in the footsteps of Marc Gasol, who achieved the same feat a decade ago.

Jackson was seventh in the vote for defensive player of the Year last season, but this season he led the league with 3.0 blocks per game and in total blocks. He finished in first place with 56 first-place votes and 391 points, enough to beat out Brook Lopez of the Milwaukee Bucks, who finished in second place with 31 first-place votes and 309 points. Evan Mobley, a player for the Cleveland Cavaliers who is just in his second NBA season, finished third with eight votes for first place and 101 points.

We benefit a lot from playing defense as a team. During the TNT program used to make the award announcement, Jackson said that the recognition “goes a long way.”

The shooting percentage that Jackson allowed at the rim was 46.9%, the best in the NBA among those who had guarded at least 300 attempts. This was an undeniable asset for Memphis as they reached the number two spot in the Western Conference playoffs.

At the beginning of this month, Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins said, “Hands down, no question, JJ’s defensive player of the year.”

Jenkins may go as far into statistics as he pleases, but even a simple visual inspection may reveal a great deal. Because of the need for more recuperation time after surgery on his right foot, Jackson Jr. could not participate in the first game of the season.

And as they waited for Jackson Jr. to get ready, Memphis’ defense was less than stellar.

“He did not play in any of the first fifteen games of the Year. “From a defensive standpoint, we were terrible,” Jenkins said. “As soon as he gets back into the lineup, everything takes a 180-degree turn for the better.”

Jackson quickly gave a lot of appreciation to Jenkins and the rest of the Grizzlies’ staff for helping him earn the award.

Jackson expressed his gratitude by saying, “They have instilled the confidence in me to be aggressive offensively — but also unleashed me defensively to go out there and do anything.”

Lopez, who finished in second place, had played in the NBA for 15 years but had never come this close to winning a major individual award.

This was the first year that Lopez was a genuine contender for the Defensive Player of the Year award, despite the fact that he has always been a shot blocker and has averaged 1.8 blocks per game throughout his career. In 2020, he finished 10th in the voting for the award. That year, his Milwaukee teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo won both the award and the MVP.

This season, Lopez blocked a career-high and league-high 193 shots, and he also contested an average of 17.5 shots per game, which was by far the most of anybody in the league.

Antetokounmpo finished in sixth place, followed by Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors in fourth, Bam Adebayo of Miami in fifth, Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee in sixth, Jrue Holiday and O.G. Anunoby of Toronto tied for seventh place, Joel Embiid of Philadelphia and Nic Claxton of Brooklyn tied for ninth place, Alex Caruso of Chicago in 11th place, and Jimmy Butler of Miami in 12th place.

The league announced the honor, the first major individual award to be given out thus far this season.

Three more awards are scheduled to be revealed later this week. Clutch Player (Butler, Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan, or Sacramento’s De’Aaron Fox) is coming Tuesday, Coach of the Year (Sacramento’s Mike Brown, Oklahoma City’s Mark Daigneault or Boston’s Joe Mazzulla) will be announced Wednesday, and Sixth Man of the Year (Boston’s Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee’s Bobby Portis Jr. or New York’s Immanuel Quickley) will be revealed Thursday.

THE HAKEEM OLAJUWON TROPHY

Received by the Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award Winner, Hakeem Olajuwon’s Hall of Fame career was largely defined by his dominant defensive play. Olajuwon is the all-time leader in blocked shots for the NBA and is ninth in thefts. He has been named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year twice and selected to the NBA All-Defensive Team nine times. In addition, he has won two NBA titles, been selected to the NBA All-Star Game and the NBA Finals MVP award twice, been named to the All-NBA Team 12 times, and was a member of the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams. A player on the trophy adopts a traditional defensive posture, with one hand raised, the other hand lowered, legs bent, and ready to move.

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