Memphis Grizzlies center nabbed the Defensive Player of the Year award for anchoring the NBA’s best defense, the league announced on Wednesday.
The 7’1 player from Spain got 212 points and 30 first-place votes to win over Miami’s LeBron James, who had 149 points and 18 first-place votes. Oklahoma City Thunder’s Serge Ibaka was third with 122 points and 14 first-place votes.
Grizzlies’ man in the middle averaged only 1.7 blocks(12th in the league) and 1.0 steals, but his team allowed a league-best 88.7 points per game. Memphis became the first team to hold opponents below 90 points per game in a season since 2005-06 when both the Grizzlies (88.5) and San Antonio (88.8) accomplished the feat.
Gasol is the first Grizzlies player to earn the DPOY award.