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Defensive Player of the Year

2012 Winner: Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks


Tyson Chandler, New York Knicks, Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia 76ers

Jrue Holiday #11 of the Philadelphia 76ers lays up a shot past Tyson Chandler #6 of the New York Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center on March 21, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Knicks won 82-79.

Drew Hallowell / Getty Images
Updated May 02, 2012
The highlight shows tend to focus on the offensive end, but there will always be a place in the NBA for elite defenders. The best is honored every year with the Defensive Player of the Year award, an honor which, if there was any justice in the world, would be named for Celtic great Bill Russell, who dominated the paint before this award - and many statistical measures of great defense - even existed. (Russell's name is on the Finals MVP trophy.)

2012 Defensive Player of the Year: Tyson Chandler

It would be easy to dismiss Tyson Chandler's win as simple voter fatigue... NBA awards voters do seem to get bored with selecting the same player over and over again, and Dwight Howard had won three straight times. But Howard had a down year, while Chandler arrived in New York and helped the Knicks jump from 22nd overall in defensive efficiency to 5th.

Chandler is the first Knick to be honored as Defensive Player of the Year.

The Selection Process

The winner is selected by a panel of media members representing every NBA city, as well as a number of national broadcasters and writers.

The vote takes place immediately after the regular season; playoff performance doesn't factor in.

Defensive Player of the Year Trivia

  • Shot-blockers and rebounders have dominated the voting in recent years. Since 1989, the only guards to win defensive player honors are Seattle's Gary "The Glove" Payton (1996) and Indiana swingman Ron Artest (2004).
  • But big men didn't dominate the voting at the outset: five of the first six defensive player awards went to guards. Milwaukee's Sidney Moncrief won the first two.
  • Michael Jordan, David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon are the only players to win Defensive Player of the Year and MVP awards. Olajuwon won both -- and was named Finals MVP -- in the same year.

NBA Defensive Player of the Year

2010-11 : Tyson Chandler - New York
2010-11 : Dwight Howard - Orlando
2009-10 : Dwight Howard - Orlando
2008-09 : Dwight Howard - Orlando
2007-08 : Kevin Garnett - Boston
2006-07 : Marcus Camby - Denver
2005-06 : Ben Wallace - Detroit
2004-05 : Ben Wallace - Detroit
2003-04 : Ron Artest - Indiana
2002-03 : Ben Wallace - Detroit
2001-02 : Ben Wallace - Detroit
2000-01 : Dikembe Mutombo - Philadelphia-Atlanta
1999-00 : Alonzo Mourning - Miami
1998-99 : Alonzo Mourning - Miami
1997-98 : Dikembe Mutombo - Atlanta
1996-97 : Dikembe Mutombo - Atlanta
1995-96 : Gary Payton - Seattle
1994-95 : Dikembe Mutombo - Denver
1993-94 : Hakeem Olajuwon - Houston
1992-93 : Hakeem Olajuwon - Houston
1991-92 : David Robinson - San Antonio
1990-91 : Dennis Rodman - Detroit
1989-90 : Dennis Rodman - Detroit
1988-89 : Mark Eaton - Utah
1987-88 : Michael Jordan - Chicago
1986-87 : Michael Cooper - Los Angeles Lakers
1985-86 : Alvin Robertson - San Antonio
1984-85 : Mark Eaton - Utah
1983-84 : Sidney Moncrief - Milwaukee
1982-83 : Sidney Moncrief - Milwaukee
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