After the NBA Awards, aka the worst idea the NBA has had in the last decade, wrapped up last night, the voting results were revealed to the public. One of the more notable Celtics names that showed up fairly high on the ballots was Al Horford who finished 5th in Defensive Player of the Year voting, only 1 point behind free agent to be Paul George on the list.
Only the top 3 vote getters are named as finalists by the NBA, so both George and Horford were not revealed to finish as high as they did in the voting until after the award show had concluded, although the voting took place over 2 months ago.
Horford was a huge reason why the Celtics defense ranked first in the NBA in defensive rating during the regular season with a rating of 101.5. “He knows every action in the league that anybody would possibly run.” Stevens said of Horford’s defensive awareness back in May. “Being able to anchor and communicate our defense through the action while still usually guarding the best forward on the other team. It's really hard."
Horford’s defensive efforts did not go completely unrewarded though, as it did earn him a spot on the NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team and likely was a big reason he was selected to his 5th career All-Star team. Other notable Celtic finishes in the award races included Jaylen Brown finishing 7th in Most Improved Player voting, Danny Ainge finishing 4th in Executive of the Year voting, Brad Stevens finishing 3rd in Coach of the Year voting, and Jayson Tatum finishing 3rd in Rookie of the Year voting.
Photo: (Matt Slocum - AP Photo)