Defensive Player Of The Year

2012 Defensive Player of The Year: Chasing 23 Writers’ Picks

The NBA Realist: Tyson Chandler

In all honesty, this should have been Dwight Howard’s award for the 4th consecutive year given that he is still the best Defensive Player in the NBA. I know that when I went on the Blitz Sports Network Podcast, I expressed my intent to for Howard. However, after careful consideration, the fact that Howard missed 12 games, quit on his team, undermined his coach, mind-fucked his management, oftentimes checked out, and failed to consistently perform like the best defensive Player, cannot be overlooked, and forced me to rethink my vote.

As a result, Howard opens the door to Winston Wolf…..errr Tyson Chandler, who not only changed the culture of a Mike D’Antoni coached team, but simultaneously embraced the unenviable task of cleaning up the mistakes of his defensively challenged teammates like Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudamire, while enabling the defensive development of  Iman Schumpert and Landry Fields. In the end, the Knicks finished as the 5th best Defensive team in the NBA, and the bulk of their success is attributed to Chandler.

However, Chandler’s greatest accomplishment will nether be winning a Championship Ring, nor the eventual 2012 Defensive Player of the Year award. Instead, it is his remarkable detachment from former “Baby Bulls” teammate Eddy Curry who at one time served as 50% of the “front-court of the future”, which in actuality turned out to be the basketball equivalent of “See No Evil/Hear No Evil”.  

Honorable Mention: Tony Allen  

Sean Cribben: Tyson Chandler

Boning over a Celtic for a Knick isn’t easy for me, but Chandler’s transformative effect this season is on par with that KG had on the Celtics with his arrival in Beantown in 2008. Indeed, with Chandler patrolling the paint the Knicks have improved so markedly on that end of the floor that comparing this year’s outfit with last’s is an altogether ridiculous exercise; while in 2011 they dwelt in the league’s basement (28th in ppg, the 22nd-ranked Defensive Rating, and the 5th-worst defensive field-goal percentage), this season they’ve evolved into a formidable defensive team.

Bruce Blitz (Blitz Sports Network): Tyson Chandler  

This is probably the hardest award for me to give a final answer for. I mean there are a few guys who really deserve a piece of this award. Say what you want about Dwight Howard, but Dwight Howard has played phenomenal defense again this season. Dwight Howard’s ability to alter shots at the basket, create hesitation in slashers, block shots, post defense, and ability to end defensive plays with his rebounding are phenomenal. Dwight Howard is still one of the NBA’s best defenders and let’s not act like Dwight Howard fell off the map this past season defensively, merely because a lot of us are turned off by his off-the-court behavior.

Serge Ibaka has certainly made a strong case for his consideration as well in a very similar manner to Dwight Howard. Kevin Garnett has also had a fantastic season defensively as well. LeBron James also is deserving of this award.

I mean with LeBron we are talking about the hands-down best perimeter defender in the NBA. LeBron James defends the 1-5 positions, and frequently this season he defended the 1-5 in many singular games. LeBron James is a great reactionary defender, which is a lost art in the NBA. A ton of NBA defenders bring anticipatory defense to the court and get caught cheating into pass lanes way too much. LeBron James’ has the reaction time of a cat, and his help defense is amongst the best in the NBA. There would be no complaints here if LeBron James won the Defensive Player of the Year in 2012. I actually had been leaning towards LeBron James for this award, but I’ve been swayed in the past month to go with Tyson Chandler.

The argument can be made that Tyson Chandler has the greatest impact defensively in the NBA. Tyson Chandler steps on the court and automatically brings a style of defensive intensity that picks up the intensity of everyone around him. The New York Knicks went from being one of the worst defenses in the NBA last year, to being a top 5 defense in the NBA this season. Tyson Chandler certainly has the biggest hand in this turnaround. Tyson’s ability to show on screens, hedge off ball handlers, retreat to his original assignment while they roll to the basket, his shot blocking, shot altering, and rebounding have changed the entire culture of the New York Knicks. The New York Knicks have blossomed into the threat that they are, in large part, because of Tyson Chandler’s defense. So I choose Tyson Chandler as the defensive player of the year.

E-Dog: Tyson Chandler

I know that Dwight Howard practically owns this award by now and has the better defensive stats, but Chandler transformed the Knicks into a team that could, and did, rely on its defense to whether a barrage of injuries and extended periods of offensive struggles. His impact on his team at the defensive end dwarfs that of anyone else this season, and that’s enough for me. Besides, Howard needs to pay some price (minor though it is) for what he put the Magic through this season, and what he will likely put them through this off-season (and next season, if the team allows it) as well.


13 Responses to “2012 Defensive Player of The Year: Chasing 23 Writers’ Picks”

  1. Just thought it was worth mentioning that Chandler was also the most efficient player in NBA history on a per-shot basis. He broke Artis Gilmore’s 30 year old TS% record by over half a percentage point this year.

    Heck of a season for Mr. Chandler.

    Posted by Lochpster | May 2, 2012, 12:14 pm
    • Lochpster – Thanks for the read. Had no idea that Chandler broker A-Train’s record. However, in hindsight, A-Trains 67% FG was far more impressive than Chandler’s 67.9% given that A-Train averaged 18 ppg vs. Chandler’s 11.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 9, 2012, 6:43 pm
  2. Can any of you basketball “geniuses” please give me one bit of statistical evidence that Tyson Chandler was the BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER IN THE LEAGUE??? The narrative that he “transformed the Knicks defense” is a nice story, but is NOT evidence that he did a better job defensively than Dwight Howard, Serge Ibaka or Lebron James. It’s like they get penalized for being great defenders year in and year out. Chandler is not near the top in any defensive category…not blocks, not steals…not even defensive rebounds. The Knicks have IMPROVED defensively, but they are not a defensive juggernaut and I argue that Shumpart and Fields have as much to do with that improvement as Chandler. If you watch the games, you never see Chandler “shut down” anybody. He’s not a good post defender…he’s a pretty good help defender, but again, not even near the best. Lebron James guards all five positions, including the best players in the league (Rondo, Pierce, Kobe, Melo, Rose, Durant, etc.) Ibaka and Dwight Howard are both forces when anybody enters the paint. All are more deserving. Chandler deserves credit…just not THAT much credit.

    I wish you writers would do some actual RESEARCH instead of going along with whatever the current narrative is. Typical.

    Posted by No Halfsteppin | May 3, 2012, 5:37 am
    • I actually agree with most of this post. It’s amazing how people in basketball often get caught up in “narratives” instead of the actual performance on the court.

      Dwight Howard was a stud this season defensively. Again. A little down season by HIS standards, but when he was on the floor he added lots of defensive value to his team. Again. His other teammates as a whole aren’t great on defense, and Dwight anchored much of the load and covered their mistakes. Again.

      Yes, this was Dwight’s award (although Tyson Chandler had a better overall season). But, as usual, some media members in basketball would rather write stories instead of learning about the facts.

      Posted by The Realist #2 | May 4, 2012, 10:51 am
      • I’d have gone with James myself. I’ve long felt perimeter defenders got short shaft with this award-they must work much harder to play quality D, and there are a lot more top-tier perimeter players to guard. Compared to the others James

        1) is a more versatile defender and a better man defender. He guarded every position on the floor this year-Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol, Derrick Rose, etc. Dennis Rodman was the last player able to do this. The flexibility this gives his team cannot be understated.

        2) averaged almost 2 steals and one block per game. He was second in defensive win shares. His individual defensive numbers are better than those of Howard, Ibaka and Chandler.

        3) was on a better overall team defense than any of those other players.

        I like Chandler a lot and I’m happy for him finally getting some credit for his superlative play. He’s surely one of the best defenders in the league and helped transform his team but, much like Rose with the MVP last year, he’s not quite deserving of top billing.

        Posted by Lochpster | May 4, 2012, 12:53 pm
        • Good points about James. I’d put him up there too – Josh Smith is another player who has also been great defensively.

          I think that the reason perimeter players don’t get this award as often is because they’re generally not as valuable as bigs on defense. Even great perimeter defenders can get beat off the dribble, and a team with an anchor in the middle can make for it.

          Posted by The Realist #2 | May 4, 2012, 2:19 pm
    • Defensive impact is hard to guage and goes well beyond stats, but since you asked – “Opposing teams averaged 22.5 more points and shot .520 from the field when Chandler was not in the lineup. Opponents shot .438 with Chandler in the lineup. In addition, Chandler grabbed 22.1 percent of his team’s defensive rebounds when he was on the floor.”

      No other player had the same impact. This is why I chose Chandler.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 9, 2012, 6:48 pm
  3. I am really surprised by the consensus here, considering you all said something about what great seasons other guys were having.

    Posted by pointguard40 | May 3, 2012, 11:49 am
    • PG40. There were a number of good candidates this year, and I was nearly swayed to vote for Lebron. However, I was ultimately swayed by the points disparity with Chandler vs. without Chandler in the lineup.

      Posted by The NBA Realist | May 9, 2012, 6:49 pm
      • A question that I have regarding the allocation of defensive awards is that seemingly there is not sufficient data to justify many of the selections.

        Indeed, the selections seem analogous to those of the Gold Glove in MLB, often to those that either have reputation or that carry some notoriety based upon offense rather than true defensive value.

        A case in point is Shane Battier.

        In game #3 of the ECF, Battier played 38 minutes. He scored ZERO points on 0-6 shooting, pulled down 3 rebounds and doled out 4 assists. Statistically speaking, hardly worth investing 38 minutes of court time.

        But is it?

        Like Mark Belanger with the powerhouse Baltimore Orioles of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, it seems logical that there is some immeasurable value that coahes see that cannot appear on the box score.

        the only expalnation for Shane Battier to occupy that many minutes for a team contending for atitle is that Battier has tremendous value to that team. That value woudl then, logiacally, correlate with his teams chances of winning and advancing.

        The question that I have, given the thought line above, is why Shane Battier has not received any appropriate recgonition for this defensive contribution?

        Battier has only been sleected to the 2nd team All Defense, and then only twice.

        Can we, at this point, honestly believe that Kobe Bryant, Rajon Rondo, Luol Deng or Chris Paul have greater defensive value than a player like Shane Battier?

        If that is true, do we then believe that if Chris Paul or Kobe Bryant were scoring 7 or fewer PPG they would still be getting 30+ minutes per game?

        And if those players were only scoring 7 PPG, would they still be getting All Defense recognition?

        Posted by Paulie Walnuts | June 2, 2012, 11:46 am
  4. I have to honestly say Kobe should have been voted DPOY b/c every year he consistently shuts down two seven-footers every game.

    Posted by Wijf | June 11, 2012, 1:14 am
  5. All I am going to say is that for the DPOY he made very little impact on the court in terms of defense vs Miami. I know he was sick a couple of games but even the games he wasn’t he did very little on the court vs Miami. Wade and Lebron drove the the rim at will to score. So I think looking back it might have been a bad pick. I don’t know who should have won but not him.

    Posted by nightbladehunter | June 11, 2012, 5:52 am


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