Marc Gasol was crowned as the Defensive Player Of The Year, after a dominant season on that end of the court. Personally, I agree with the pick an believe that Gasol deserved the award, but there are always a couple of surprises lower down in the voting.
While LeBron James is arguably one of the best defenders in the league, it was still quite surprising to see him come in second. Sure, if James won the award you couldn’t really argue against it. Still, it is a little surprising how many votes he received, even if it’s just because you would expect people to vote for someone who is regarded as a defensive specialist rather than a well-rounded NBA superstar.
Two players that should probably have ranked higher are Roy Hibbert (10th) and Andre Iguodala (9th). While Hibbert slumped through most of the season on the offensive end, he had a great year on the defensive end and deserved a higher ranking. Iguodala ranking 9th is perhaps not that surprising, but I feel like he deserved to crack top 5. Iggy has always been a terrific defender and has done a fabulous job in Denver this year. His athleticism, long arms and basketball IQ make him into one of the most feared defenders in the NBA.
There were a couple other noteworthy players ranking low. Three-time DPOY winner, Dwight Howard, had a tough year overall. Not only was he adjusting to a different role with the Lakers, but he also played hurt for the majority of the season. His athleticism was lacking and he was not able to contest shots like he usually is. This had him ranked 14th in this year’s voting.
Last year’s DPOY, Tyson Chandler, was just one spot higher than Howard. Chandler also struggled with injuries this year and has not been quite the intimidating defensive presence we are used to seeing.