By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Coaches have chosen Walter Tavares as the 2018-19 Best Defender Trophy winner, making him the first Real player to earn this honor, as EuroLeague announced.
Tavares held a block party all season long, leading all EuroLeague players in rejections on average (1.7), in total (53) and per 40 minutes (3.3). And even when Real is famous for its offense, Tavares was a key to Los Blancos recording 27.0 defensive rebounds per game, the second-highest average in EuroLeague history. He ranked second on the team and eighth in the EuroLeague in defensive rebounds with 4.4 per game, part of his fifth-ranked average of 6.2 total rebounds. What cannot be quantified easily is how many shots Tavares changed or otherwise deterred, although the sight of opponents dribbling away from the basket when he was near offered a clue. His energy, presence, intimidation and mentality are among the many reasons that the coaches voted Tavares to be the 2018-19 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Best Defender.
The Best Defender Trophy is one of several awards to honor the best players in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague. The first of this season’s honorees was announced Monday when Mike James of AX Armani Exchange Olimpia Milan was confirmed as the winner of this season’s Alphonso Ford Top Scorer Trophy. On Tuesday, Goga Bitadze of Buducnost VOLI Podgorica won the EuroLeague Rising Star Trophy. The All-EuroLeague teams will be announced in the coming days. The EuroLeague MVP award will be revealed at the 2019 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Vitoria-Gasteiz. The Alexander Gomelskiy Coach of the Year Trophy and the Gianluigi Porelli EuroLeague Executive of the Year are post-season awards.
Following Tavares in the voting by EuroLeague head coaches were Nikola Kalinic of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, who ranked second, as well as his teammate Jan Vesely and Bryant Dunston of Anadolu Efes Istanbul, who tied for third place.
Photo credit: EuroLeague