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EuroLeague Best Defender: Walter Tavares

Photo: EuroLeague Basketball

His blocked shots and intimidation no doubt forced Turkish Airlines EuroLeague head coaches to make adjustments whenever Real Madrid center Walter Tavares was on the court.

Now, those same coaches have chosen Tavares as the 2018-19 Best Defender Trophy winner, making him the first Real player to earn this honor.

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. 

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