Andre Roberson has always been a monster on defense. On Monday, he was recognized for such excellence as he was named to the NBA All-Defense Second Team. He was voted as the third best forward defender, behind Draymond Green and Kawhi Leonard, which is basically saying he’s the third (or fourth) best defender in the NBA.
NBA all defense teams were announced today. Who do you think was snubbed? pic.twitter.com/LDvt14kOcY— Leading NBA (@LeadingNBA_) June 26, 2017
Roberson came to the Colorado Buffaloes as a raw 3-star recruit — Tad Boyle’s first recruit at CU — who dominated on defense and on the glass in his three seasons in Boulder. In his sophomore and junior seasons, he was unequivocally the best rebounder in the nation, and certainly one of the elite defenders. In both of those seasons, he was named First Team All-Pac-12 and First Team All-Defense. In his junior year, he was Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. Per 40 minutes, Roberson averaged in his career a ridiculous 13.6 points, 14.1 rebounds, 2.2 steals and 2.0 blocks, a statline that may never be topped by a Buffalo.
Roberson declared for the draft after his junior year, and though it was somewhat surprising, it turned out to be a great decision. Roberson wasn’t expected to be drafted in the first round, if at all, but he was selected 26th overall in the 2013 NBA Draft. He spent his first season with the Oklahoma City Thunder going back and forth between the D-League and the Thunder bench, but he clearly made progress throughout the season, enough for the Thunder to be comfortable letting lockdown perimeter defender Thabo Sefolosha leave in free agency.
Roberson played as nominal power forward with the Buffs, but he first moved to shooting guard to start in Sefolosha’s place, and then to small forward after Kevin Durant left for the Warriors. Of course, for a player like Roberson, positions don’t matter. Every night, the Thunder task him with guarding the oppositions’ best perimeter scorer and he is simply remarkable at that. He has the length and strength to guard the best 3s and 4s in the NBA, and he has the quickness and instincts to stifle the most dangerous guards. Roberson can shut down anyone from James Harden to Kevin Durant and he does it on a nightly basis. His recognition as Second Team All-Defense is a splendid reward for his tireless work.
Roberson just concluded his fourth and final year of his rookie contract, so he’s due to become a restricted free agent this summer. Despite not provided much if anything on offense, Roberson is so valuable on defense that he should get a monster contract in the coming weeks. Wherever he goes next season, he’ll continue representing the Colorado Buffaloes with his incredible play, and we couldn’t be prouder of him.