KG was named Defensive Player Of The Year today, and the only mini-surprise was that it wasn't a more sweeping victory. KG "only" got 90 of 124 votes; and while Camby, Battier, Bowen, Duncan etc. all clearly are defensive stalwarts, how in God's name could you not vote for KG? The results should have looked a lot more like Manu's did yesterday. If I sound like a whiny Boston homer so be it, but incredibly it appears many national writers still have no idea how good this Celtics D has been.
While Thibodeau is brilliant, Rondo perhaps the best defensive PG in the league, and the roster in general full of defensive heart and savvy, it is KG who instilled and anchored a truly historic season of defensive tenacity. As quietly great as KG has been defensively throughout his career, he was able to step it up to a special level this year, and his whole team realized a defensive potential that otherwise would have been unfathomable. Yes, Camby is a wonderful defensive player, but the profound effect it has had on his team is relatively minor compared to Garnett's accomplishments. Likewise for Battier and Bowen.
KG doesn't block that many shots, get that many steals, or rebound every ball. He often isn't required to cover the opponent's big scorer. No, instead his role on the Celtics is to make sure the entire opposing team is softly shut down. It's not particularly glamorous, but it is hard as hell, and the results speak for themselves. Gaps close faster, the ball pressured more, communication seamless, and gambles appropriate - all of this directly correlates with KG. No player came close to sustaining such focused defensive excellence throughout the season. For that the recipient of today's award should have been blatantly obvious to everyone.