Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol is the recipient of the 2012-13 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, the NBA announced today. Gasol is the first player in Grizzlies history to receive the honor.
Gasol (7-1, 264) received 212 points, including 30 first-place votes, from a panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada.
“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.”
With Gasol anchoring the middle, Memphis was the NBA’s stingiest defense this season, surrendering a league-low 89.3 points to opponents during the regular season. The Grizzlies became the first NBA team since the 2005-06 season to allow fewer than 90 points per game to their opponents.
The 28-year-old led Memphis in blocked shots (1.74) for the fifth consecutive season and was one of six players to average at least 1.50 blocks and 1.00 steals per game.
Memphis also ranked near the top of the league this season in defensive categories such as field goal percentage allowed (.435, 3rd), three-point field goal percentage allowed (.338, 2nd), total rebounds allowed (39.1, 1st) and forced turnovers (15.5, 6th).
In terms of advanced statistics, Memphis recorded a +7.5 score differential when Gasol was on the court as opposed to a -3.9 when he was off the floor, according to NBA.com/Stats.
Drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round (48th overall) of the 2007 NBA Draft, Gasol’s draft rights were acquired by Memphis with two first round draft picks (2008, 2010) and three players in exchange for older brother Pau Gasol and a 2008 second round draft pick on Feb. 1, 2008. The Barcelona, Spain native played two seasons of high school basketball in Memphis for Lausanne (2001-03) before returning to Spain to play professionally for F.C. Barcelona and Akasvayu Girona.
Miami’s LeBron James (149 points, 18 first-place votes) and Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka (122 points, 14 first-place votes) finished second and third, respectively. Grizzlies guard Tony Allen (102 points, nine first-place votes) finished fifth and led all backcourt players in the voting. Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, who led all players in total steals this season, also received a third-place vote. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote received.
As part of its support of the Defensive Player of the Year Award, 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. Kia Motors will present a Sorento to the charity of choice for each of five 2012-13 season-end award winners as part of “The Kia NBA Performance Awards.” Following the season, Kia Motors will have donated a total of 26 new vehicles to charitable organizations since its support of the NBA’s prestigious season-end honors began in 2008.
Founded in 1986, Youth Villages helps more than 20,000 children and families each year from more than 20 states and Washington, D.C., through its Evidentiary Family Restoration ™ approach. Involving intensive work with the child and family, as well as a focus on measuring outcomes, keeping children in the community whenever safely possible and providing accountability to families and funders, EFR produces lasting success for children. Youth Villages uses its EFR approach in a wide array of programs, including intensive in-home services, residential treatment, foster care and adoption, transitional living services, mentoring and crisis services. EFR consistently produces success rates twice that of traditional services at one-third the cost of traditional care. Named one of the Top 50 Nonprofits to Work For by Nonprofit Times and Best Companies Group in 2010 and 2011, Youth Villages has been recognized by Harvard Business School and U.S. News & World Report, and was identified by The White House as one of the nation’s most promising results-oriented nonprofit organizations. For more information about Youth Villages, visit www.youthvillages.org or call (901) 251-5000.
The 2012-13 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award is part of a series of on-court performance awards called “The Kia NBA Performance Awards.” The series, currently in its sixth season, is part of a multiyear marketing partnership between KMA and the NBA and includes five of the league’s most-prestigious year-end honors: the Most Valuable Player Award, Defensive Player of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved Player and Rookie of the Year. For the first time, the series also includes the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month during the regular season. Kia Motors is the Official Automotive Partner of the NBA and the Kia Optima is the league’s Official Vehicle. For more information on “The Kia NBA Performance Awards,” visit NBA.com/Awards.