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Why didn't Kidd-Gilchrist make an NBA All-Defensive team?

Kidd-Gilchrist earned just two All-Defensive first team votes and finished well short of making either squad. Why is that?

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports


Michael Kidd-Gilchrist did not make an NBA All-Defensive team this season. Kidd-Gilchrist finished ninth in Defensive Player of the Year voting, but received the 15th most votes in All-Defense. Why is that, you ask? Take a look at who made the All-Defensive teams this season.

All-Defensive First Team
Position Player (Team) Points
Guard Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers) 170
Guard Tony Allen (Memphis Grizzlies) 207
Forward Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs) 242
Forward Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors) 229
Center DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers) 187
All-Defensive Second Team
Position Player (Team) Points
Guard John Wall (Washington Wizards)


Guard Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls) 132
Forward Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans) 155
Forward Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs) 64
Center Andrew Bogut (Golden State Warriors) 102
Runner Ups
Position Player (Team) Points
Center Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz) 54
Forward LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) 47
Guard Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) 35
Guard Avery Bradley (Boston Celtics) 26
Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Charlotte Hornets) 21

As you can see above, All-Defensive teams use position as a main criteria. That means that players who aren't necessarily top-10 defenders, like DeAndre Jordan, have found slots on the squads. Those votes would likely have gone elsewhere had voters not been constrained to positional voting.

However, some analysts had other reasons for why Kidd-Gilchrist didn't make an All-Defensive team.

Strauss asserts that because Michael Kidd-Gilchrist can't shoot (a farce in 2015 — he was above league average on midrange jump shot shooting percentage at 39.5 percent), he was unable to take the floor consistently. That makes no sense whatsoever.

Using Strauss' methodology, Tony Allen had no place on an All-Defensive team. Allen played just 26.2 minutes per game, below Kidd-Gilchrist's mark of 28.9 minutes, and shot well below league average, at 32.9 percent from midrange. Additionally, Kidd-Gilchrist not only played more minutes when he was available, but he also played more minutes in the fourth quarter than Allen did. This isn't 2013. Kidd-Gilchrist is a dramatically different player than he was a few years ago, which is clearly what Strauss based his assertion on.

This isn't an award for most playable-ness, either. This is an award for defensive prowess, versatility, and effort. Kidd-Gilchrist eclipses several notable players in a variety of defensive measures, and even leads in some categories. If All-Defense was an award for how playable players are (whatever that even means), then yes, Strauss may have a point. But using this as an argument against Kidd-Gilchrist is foolish and, quite frankly, grasping at straws.

So why didn't Kidd-Gilchrist make an All-Defensive squad? There are three reasons.

The first is that Kidd-Gilchrist only played in 55 games this season. Voters like a solid sample size with which to make their decisions, and while 55 games is nothing to scoff at, it is easily the lowest mark among players in the above charts. Basically, getting hurt severely hindered Kidd-Gilchrist's chances at a handful of awards.

The second reason is that because of the position-based format of All-Defense voting, Kidd-Gilchrist missed out on votes he may have gotten had this been a position-less award. The NBA has been slowly moving away from traditional positions as the NBA evolves, but it's not at a point where players are judged solely on ability rather than an arbitrary category like position. If a player can play, that player will play.

The final reason is that, unfortunately, the Hornets are still a small market team. They played a single game on national television this season despite being scheduled for two games on ESPN in April. Both of those games were against the Toronto Raptors, but because it was clear the Hornets would miss the playoffs and there were other games with seeding ramifications, one game was bumped off the schedule. Outside of the Carolinas, not many people watched the Hornets unless they were playing in other cities.

Kidd-Gilchrist is a phenomenal defender — undoubtedly one of the best the NBA has to offer — and in time he will receive his due. He's still only 21 years old and his growth in just three years has been incredible to watch. Lauded as a hustling glue guy coming out of Kentucky, Kidd-Gilchrist has developed into a legitimate defensive anchor at the wing spot (which is extremely rare in the NBA) with an emerging offensive game, and it seems that his development is far from done. This isn't a player that is improving incrementally; Kidd-Gilchrist is improving by leaps and bounds every season.

It's just a matter of time until the NBA takes notice.