In the NBA, good defense is team defense, with each individual committed to doing his part. Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol knows that and he demonstrated it consistently throughout the 2012-13 season.
On Wednesday, Gasol was rewarded for doing his part, snaring the 2012-13 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. In the history of the Grizzlies' franchise, he is the first to be so honored.
Proof that Gasol "gets it" about good defense came as he accepted the award.
"On behalf of my teammates and our coaching staff, I am grateful to be named the Defensive Player of the Year," Gasol said. "We had a great season, especially on the defensive end, and that is due to the hard work of everyone involved."
Gasol's stats start with his size (7-1, 264). He averaged 1.74 blocks per game and was one of six players to average at least 1.50 blocks and 1.00 steals per game.
With the big man in the middle, the Grizz defense ranked as the stingiest, surrendering 89.3 points per game, a league low. The Grizzlies are the first NBA team to allow fewer than 90 points per game since the 2005-06 season.
According to NBA.com/Stats, Memphis notched a +7.5 score differential when Gasol was on the floor and -3.9 when he was off the court.
A panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada voted on the award, with Gasol garnering 30 first-place votes and 212 points.
Miami's LeBron James (149 points, 18 first-place votes) and Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (122 points, 14 first-place votes) trailed Gasol in the voting. Grizzlies guard Tony Allen (102 points, nine first-place votes) finished fifth and ahead of all backcourt players.
Kia Motors America (KMA) will donate a 2014 Kia Sorento LX CUV to Gasol's charity of choice, Youth Villages, a private nonprofit dedicated to helping thousands of emotionally- and behaviorally-troubled children and their families live successfully.