LeBron James Named to NBA All-Defensive First Team
James received 47 votes, the third-most overall, including 22 first-place votes. He was joined on the first team by 2009 Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers, Chris Paul of the New Orleans Hornets and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics. The voting panel consisted of the NBA’s 30 head coaches, who were asked to select NBA All-Defensive First and Second Teams by position. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players from their own team. Two points were awarded for a First Team vote and one point was awarded for a Second Team vote.
James joins Larry Nance (1988-89) as the only players in franchise history to ever be voted to the first team and becomes the fifth Cavalier all-time to earn all-defensive honors, joining Nance (1988-89, 1991-92 and 1992-93), Jim Brewer (1975-76, 1976-77), Jimmy Cleamons (1975-76) and Bobby Phills (1995-96).
The 2008-09 Most Valuable Player averaged a career-best 1.15 blocks and 1.69 steals, eighth in the NBA, in addition to 28.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.2 assists in 37.7 minutes per game. With 137 steals and 93 blocks, James was one of just two players (Dwyane Wade) in the NBA this season to total at least 100 steals and 90 blocks. On 23 occasions, he held the opposing starting small forward to single-digit scoring, including a season-high five consecutive games from March 22-30, and in 34 games, he forced the opposing starting small forward to shoot at or less than .400 from the field.
James spearheaded the Cavaliers defense, which allowed the fewest points per game in the league (91.4), the lowest opponent three-point percentage (.333) and the second-lowest opponent field goal percentage (.431) this season. The Cleveland defense held opponents under 100 points an NBA-high 63 times (the Cavs were 56-7 in those games).