WEDNESDAY, 11:08am: The NBA has officially announced Gasol as Defensive Player of the Year. LeBron James was the runner-up, followed by Ibaka and Noah.
MONDAY, 3:12pm: Marc Gasol will be named Defensive Player of the Year for the 2012/13 NBA season, according to Chris Vernon of 92.9 FM ESPN in Memphis (via Twitter). An official announcement will likely come later this week.
Award season started for the NBA today, when J.R. Smith was officially named the Sixth Man of the Year. The Defensive Player of the Year field was considered fairly wide open, with a number of deserving candidates based on both traditional and more advanced statistics. When I asked earlier this month who deserved the award, Gasol received fewer votes than Larry Sanders, Joakim Noah, and Serge Ibaka.
Gasol, who averaged 7.8 RPG, 1.7 BPG, and 1.0 SPG this season for the Grizzlies, didn't have exceptional traditional stats. However, he anchored a Memphis defense that ranked second in the NBA in points per 100 possessions (97.4), and the team's defensive numbers were noticeably better when he was on the court.