The NBA announced the 2022-23 Kia All-Defensive Teams today, and New Orleans Pelicans guard/forward Herbert Jones was a notable omission.
Jones received a total of fifteen (15) Second Team votes, leaving him 38 points behind Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo, the 10th and final member of the squad.
Since joining the Pelicans, Jones has been the team’s best individual defender, drawing raves from coaches, teammates, and opponents for his ability to guard multiple positions and to impact the game without posting exceptional numbers on the offensive end.
“Not on Herb” has become a rallying cry for the New Orleans fanbase as the former SEC Defensive Player of the Year has locked down some of the best scorers in the game today.
This season he was one of only five players in the NBA to amass at least 40 blocks, 100 steals, and 250 rebounds, joining Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Anthony Edwards, O.G. Anunoby, and De’Anthony Melton. Anunoby, made the Second Team while SGA, Edwards, and Melton all recieved fewer votes than Jones.
Anatomy of a Snub
Pelicans fans have been through this before. Jrue Holiday spent seven years in New Orleans harassing opposing offensive players, but was recognized for his defensive efforts only twice while wearing a Pelicans uniform. Holiday and Anthony Davis were both selected for the First Team following the 2017-18 season, and Jrue was picked for the Second Team the following season.
Since leaving the Pelicans, Holiday has made the All-Defensive team every season with the Milwaukee Bucks.
When it comes to awards voting, a few things tend to get rewarded. First and foremost is team success. Holiday experienced little of that with the Pelicans, and Jones likely suffers in part for his team.
The Pelicans were a sub-.500 team last season, and failed to make the playoffs this season. Alex Caruso of the Chicago Bulls and Anunoby were the only players on either team to miss the playoffs.
Over the last four seasons, Warriors forward Draymond Green in 2021 is the only other player to make an All-Defensive team without reaching the postseason.
It’s also incredibly difficult to get past the logjam of elite perimeter defenders at his position who have more experience in the league.
Caruso and Cleveland forward Evan Mobley were the only first-time selections this season. Mobley is the only player with less than five years experience who had his name called and the only player with fewer than three years in the league to make an All-Defensive team since the 2017-18 season.
Every bit of individual recognition in professional sports comes with some sort of dues paying.
The fact of the matter is whether he receives the award or not, Herbert Jones remains one of the best defensive players in the NBA. No one who follows the Pelicans or the league closely would dare disagree.
His fifth-place finish in the race for the NBA’s Hustle Award is just another indicator of his value and contributions.
In most cases, one would suggest that the snub would motivate Jones to be even better next season. However, as we’ve seen time and time again, Herbert Jones hasn’t needed anyone to provide motivation for him to improve.
Jones was overlooked coming out of Alabama. He won’t pound his chest to demand your respect. Instead he’ll continue to earn it on the court.
And…if the Pelicans can finally reach their potential next season, expect to see Herb Jones’ name on the All-Defensive team then and for years to come.
It’s only a matter of time.
- In the Clutch: Pelicans Came Up Short When It Mattered Most
- New Orleans Pelicans Must Change Archaic Approach To 3-Point Shooting
- Pistons Considering Pelicans’ Jarron Collins for Head Coaching Vacancy
- CJ McCollum exhibits great leadership through actions
- Pelicans Played Out of Play-In, Fall to Thunder
- Brandon Ingram’s Elite Playmaking Key to Pelicans’ 3-point Attack