Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol will be named 2013 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, according to Chris Vernon of 92.9 FM ESPN. It's a well-deserved honor for Pau's younger brother after an impressive year powering the Grizzlies' suffocating defense.
Unlike many past winners of this award, Gasol doesn't put up gaudy traditional defensive statistics, but the metrics bear out his greatness. Though he averaged only 1.7 blocks and 1.0 steals in 35 minutes per game, the Grizzlies' defense goes from positively stifling to just slightly better than average when he leaves the court.
Memphis allowed 97.4 points per 100 possessions this season, per NBA.com, the second-best figure in the league behind the Indiana Pacers.
With Gasol on the court, that mark drops to 95.4, but when he's not there, it jumps to 102.2 -- that's essentially the Milwaukee Bucks defense, 12th in the league.
To put it simply, Gasol is a legitimate game-changer on the defensive end of the floor, for a number reasons. His defense in the pick-and-roll is superb, and unlike most 7-footers, his ability to move around the paint allows him to protect the rim like few others.
If he is the winner this year, it's difficult to have serious problems with it.