Tim McMahonESPN staff writerRead 3 minutes
Memphis — Memphis Grizzlies power forward/center Jaren Jackson Jr. became the second-youngest Defensive Player of the Year winner in NBA history, the league announced Monday night.
Jackson finished ahead of Milwaukee’s Brock Lopez and Cleveland’s Evan Mobley, collecting 56 of the 100 first-place votes and 391 total points. Lopez came in second with 31 first-place votes and 309 points, while Mobley came in third with 8 first-place votes and 101 points. The voting panel consisted of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters.
Jackson joins Alvin Robertson, Kawhi Leonard and Dwight Howard for the award at just 23 years old. Only Howard was getting less respect than Jackson in a few months. Jackson led the league in blocked shots (3.0 per game) for the second consecutive season while posting the NBA’s third-ranked defense (110.7 points per 100 possessions).
The Grizzlies allowed just 106.6 points per 100 possessions with Jackson on the floor and opponents shot just 44.0% in the paint when Jackson was the closest defender, which ranks worst among rotation players in the league.
“Team defense really helps us, it goes a long way,” Jackson said on the TNT broadcast announcing the award.
Jackson joined the only group of players to average at least three blocks and one steal per game during his four-decade reign as Defensive Player of the Year. Only three other players have done so: Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson and Ben Wallace have combined to win four Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Jackson was seen winning the award in a video posted on social media with his family, describing it as a “feeling of certainty”. Second video Posted by Grizzlies.
Jackson is the second player in Grizzlies franchise history to win the honor. Former Memphis center Marc Gasol was the 2012-13 Defensive Player of the Year.
Jackson also received the first Hakeem Olajuwon Trophy, part of the league-wide end-of-season award that the NBA introduced before the season.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.