Memphis Grizzlies forward/center Jaren Jackson Jr. was named to the 2021-22 Kia NBA All-Defensive First Team, the NBA announced today. This is the first career All-Defensive Team honor for Jackson Jr., who becomes the second player in franchise history to be selected to the All-Defensive First Team.
Jackson Jr. (6-11, 242) led the NBA, set career highs and established single-season franchise records for total blocks (177) and blocks per game (2.27) in his fourth NBA season. He also set a career best with 73 steals and paced all NBA players in combined steals and blocks (250), helping the Grizzlies become the third NBA team since the start of the 1982-83 season to lead the league in both steals and blocks.
The 22-year-old limited individual opponents to 41.7% shooting when serving as the primary defender, and opponents shot an average of 6.0% lower when guarded by Jackson Jr. Both of those percentages ranked second in the NBA among players with at least 900 contested shots.
Selected by Memphis with the fourth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, Jackson Jr. started all 78 of his appearances this season and averaged 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 27.3 minutes, helping the Grizzlies register the NBA’s second-best regular season record (56-26) and tie their 2012-13 franchise record for winning percentage (.683). He was selected to the 2018-19 NBA All-Rookie First Team following his first season with the Grizzlies and received 2017-18 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year after his freshman year at Michigan State.
The other members of the 2021-22 NBA All-Defensive First Team are Milwaukee Bucks forward/center Giannis Antetokounmpo, Phoenix Suns wing Mikal Bridges, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert and Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart.
The 2021-22 All-Defensive Second Team consists of Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo, Golden State Warriors center Draymond Green, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers wing Matisse Thybulle and Boston Celtics center Robert Williams III.