Thanks to the reporting of Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears, we know before the NBA even announces it that Tyson Chandler is going to be named Defensive Player of the Year at a press conference this afternoon. This will be a very popular choice.

As Skeets mentioned on our awards show, Tyson has been great for the Knicks. New York is fifth in defensive efficiency this season, allowing only 101 points per 100 possessions, just a year after finishing 22nd and giving up 111 points per 1oo. That’s an amazing upgrade, and when you consider they’re allowing an at-rim shooting percentage that’s two percentage points fewer than last season’s, you realize what an upgrade Tyson Chandler has been. Not to mention, they’re grabbing a bunch more defensive rebounds (73.7 percent this year, 71.9 last year), allowing a lower eFG (.485 vs. .511) and are forcing a bunch more turnovers (15.9 percent to 13.8). It’s been a wholesale remake of the Knicks’ defense and Tyson Chandler is the biggest — though not only, shoutout to Mike Woodson and Iman Shumpert — reason why.

However, according to Basketball Value, Chandler didn’t have nearly the defensive impact on his team that Dwight Howard did. When Dwight was off the court, the Magic allowed seven more points per 100 possessions. When Tyson was off the court, the Knicks actually allowed less points per 100 possessions (102 with Tyson, 100.5 without). 82games tells a similar story, that Tyson’s impact defensively wasn’t nearly as significant as Dwight’s. Plus, Dwight grabbed a higher percentage of defensive rebounds, blocked a higher percentage of shots, stole a higher percentage of balls and bested Tyson in basically every defensive category available, even down to defensive win shares, despite the fact Dwight played eight fewer games.

Numbers obviously don’t tell the whole story — and from watching Chandler gobble up screen-and-rolls on the perimeter, you know Tyson is a more than deserving of this trophy — but Chandler’s case feels like it was helped along by a combination of voter fatigue, suspicions that Dwight mailed in the season and a response to the worst PR campaign since the BP oil spill. After three straight DPOYs, any reason to not give Dwight Howard the award would have been appreciated. Instead, he gave people like a billion of ‘em. Tyson Chandler is an excellent choice for Defensive Player of the Year, but sometimes remaking a team can be more important than actually being the best in the league. Just ask Steve Nash.

Enough about Dwight Howard though. Tyson Chandler is Defensive Player of the Year, which is really great. I’m not sure how much credit should go to the amazing beard he’s kept for the entire season, but the answer should be “a lot of it.” Would you want that thing hedging on you while running a pick-and-roll? No, you wouldn’t. That’s why Tyson Chandler is taking home this much deserved award. Congrats.

Comments (16)

  1. You think it might be possible that the voters felt sorry and just wanted to give us some good news. All kidding aside well deserved, anyone who sat through ever Knicks game this year knows that Chandler and not Melo or Lin was the backbone of this team. It’s good to see him recognized.

  2. Too bad he could not defend Stoudemire from hitting that glass case surrounding a fire extinguisher after Game 2…

  3. I thought Lebron and Ibaka were robbed. Bron has been the best wing defender for the last few years while Ibaka was blocking about 3 times more shots a game than Tyson. This is an individual award so I’m suprised people are basing it on team defence. If Tyson gets the award, where does that leave Shumpert? This team is the second best at stealing the ball (8th last year) and 27th at blocks (4th last year -_- ). Why does everyone love the Knicks so much?

    • You really, really love highlights, don’t you? I can get behind LeBron being underappreciated defensively– or wing defenders in general– but Ibaka being DPOY is as laughable as the integrity of the NBA awards themselves.

  4. @Mitch because they are in NY and every year writer’s are BEGGING for the Knicks to turn it around. No other team gets as much benefit of the doubt by the sports media (perhaps excluding the Celtics and Lakers).

  5. Ibaka deserves this award, more than anyone else.

    • Ibaka is a terrible man defender and only gets votes because he gets highlight blocks. Might as well give the DPOY to Shumpert for leading in steals too.

    • You’re terribly wrong and I can only hope someone brings up some Synergy stats that prove how terrible this opinion is.

  6. The Thunder were 11th in Defensive Efficiency this season and Ibaka played next to Kendrick Perkins. The Knicks were 5th in Defensive Efficiency and Chandler played next to Amare Stoudemire. I agree with this award.

    • was there not a huge change on the knicks defense numbers as well. I remember something about that as well

  7. It’s tough to say those who vote for the award have a New York bias when it’s been over 15 years since a Knicks has won an award. And that was a sixth man award.

  8. Chandler’s number with regards to defensive efficiency are brought by the fact that Woodson only really plays him with some combo of Amare or Melo. The numbers for lineups without Melo or Amare show the difference.

  9. Dwight Howard should have won this award again. He is the best defensive player in the game. Obviously, his popularity hit cost him this award.

  10. I looked at the amount of first-place votes Ibaka received and got sick. I can totally believe it based on previous awards, but holy shit that’s vomit-worthy.

  11. This season Josh Smith was …

    - The only player to register more than 90 steals and 90 blocks

    - The only player in the league to rank both in the top 20 in steals per game (#20) and blocks per game (#9)

    - Also among the league leaders in total rebounds (#10) and defensive rebounds (#5)

    - The League leader in defensive win shares

    Of the players matched up vs. Smith, only three (Chris Bosh in 2OT, Kevin Love and Blake Griffin) have scored over 30 points vs. the Hawks in 2011-12

    In comparison, Josh has scored 30 on eight occasions this season.

    Since the Hawks are also among the top defensive teams (#6 in Points allowed, #6 in Defensive Rating), he should has been the leading candidate for Defensive Player Of The Year. He has not gotten any respect from the media or the coaches, who should have voted him into the All-Star-Game.

    But the numbers are definitely there.

    • I definitely would have had Smith in the conversation, although I’m not sure I agree with him being “the leading candidate”.

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