Herb Jones voted best wing defender in the NBA

New Orleans Pelicans Media Day
New Orleans Pelicans Media Day / Chris Graythen/GettyImages

Rudy Gobert was named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year on Tuesday evening. This is Gobert's fourth time winning the award, tied for the most in NBA history.

Behind Gobert were Spurs' rookie Victor Wembanyama, Heat star Bam Adebayo, and Lakers' center Anthony Davis. Defensive Player of the Year has always been a big man award as the value of rim protection and stopping shots in the paint is central to success in NBA basketball.

The fifth place vote-getter, and the highest ranked non-big man was none other than Pelicans wing Herb Jones. Jones received two second-place votes and eight third-place votes, a total of 14 points.

Jones stamped his mark on the league in 2023-24 as the premier wing defender in basketball. He boasts elite size, long arms, quick twitch reactions, and a competitive drive that keeps opposing ball handlers in his pocket on the defensive end. Jones' elite defensive skills combined with his rapid development on offense have turned him into cornerstone piece in the future of New Orleans basketball.

Since 2004, only two non-power forward/centers have won the award, Kawhi Leonard (2x) and Marcus Smart. If Jones continues his ascent into the rare air that those players sit in, he'll become the first Pelican to win a Defensive Player of the Year Award. New Orleans is one of eleven teams that have never seen a player win the award (Brooklyn, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles Clippers, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento, Toronto, Washington).