Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen was named to the 2011-12 NBA All-Defensive First Team, the league announced today. Allen received 33 points from the voting panel, including 13 First Team votes.
The First Team distinction is a first for both Allen and the Grizzlies franchise.
"I'm extremely grateful to be selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team by the head coaches around the league," Allen said. "I'm a blue collar player in a blue collar city and look forward to continuing my grit-and-grind style of play for the Grizzlies. This is one of the proudest moments of my career."
One of the NBA's most tenacious defenders, Allen (6-4, 213) ranked fifth in the league this season in steals (career-high tying 1.79) while setting career highs in rebounds (4.0) and minutes (26.3) in 58 appearances (57 starts). The eight-year veteran set a franchise record and personal best with eight thefts on April 23 vs. Cleveland, which tied the most by any player in a game this season.
With Allen on the perimeter, Memphis led the NBA in steals (9.6) and forced turnovers (17.1) for the second consecutive season, becoming the first team to do so since the 1995-96 and 1996-97 Seattle SuperSonics. The Grizzlies also paced the league in points off turnovers (19.7).
Memphis finished fifth in the NBA this season in points allowed (93.0) after placing 13th last season (97.6). The Grizzlies were 24th in the league in the category in 2009-10 (104.0) before signing the Chicago native as a free agent on July 13, 2010.
The 30-year-old was selected to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team last year in his first season in Memphis.
Joining Allen on the NBA All-Defensive First Team are Miami's LeBron James (53 points), Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (47 points), Orlando's Dwight Howard (41 points) and the Los Angeles Clippers' Chris Paul (35 points).
The NBA All-Defensive Second Team is comprised of New York's Tyson Chandler (36 points), Boston's Rajon Rondo (29 points), Boston's Kevin Garnett (26 points), Chicago's Luol Deng (20 points) and the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant.
Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, who ranked seventh in the NBA this season in blocks (career-high 1.86), received three points, including one First Team nod, while Grizzlies guard Mike Conley, who ranked second in the league and set a single-season franchise record for steals per game (2.19) this season, also received two points.
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 on their own team. Two points were awarded for a First Team vote, and one point was awarded for a Second Team vote.
The 2011-12 NBA All-Defensive First and Second Teams are below. The complete balloting is attached.
2011-12 NBA ALL-DEFENSIVE FIRST TEAM
LeBron James Miami
Serge Ibaka Oklahoma City
Dwight Howard Orlando
Chris Paul LA Clippers
Tony Allen Memphis