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Dwight Howard thought he should have won DPOY last year

Oct 23, 2012, 8:53 AM EDT

Tyreke Evans, Dwight Howard AP

Dwight Howard was the three-time defending NBA Defensive Player of the Year going into last season.

But there was no four-peat. Howard had a messy off-the-court season in Orlando that he should want to forget, plus he finished the season injured. Tyson Chandler won the award for his fantastic play in the paint that turned the woeful Knicks defensive into the fifth best in the league. Howard finished third in the voting, behind Serge Ibaka of the Thunder, but ahead of LeBron James and Kevin Garnett.

Howard thinks he was robbed. He thinks he deserved it last year and it was how people felt about him leaving Orlando that played a role in him not winning, he told ESPNLA.com.

“I thought I should have won it last year, to be honest with you,” Howard told reporters after practice Monday. “I was a little bit upset about that….

“I felt like I did my job to win it. I also feel like I didn’t because of the whole situation,” Howard said, referring to the uncertainty surrounding his future with the Magic and the distraction it became. “That played a factor in it.”

I don’t think Howard is totally wrong, people not liking his situation played a role, but it is more than just that.

There was the fact that while he played well (2.1 blocks per game, league best 14.5 rebounds per game) the Magic defense was not as good, slipping to 13th in the league in points allowed per possession (tied with the Lakers). There was the fact he missed the end of the season injured. There was the fact he’d won it three years running and when anybody wins an award that often voters tend to get fatigue and look elsewhere. Finally, there was the fact Chandler had a great defensive season as the anchor of a defense that had been terrible and became good. Plus, Chandler did that in New York, on a bright stage where everybody saw it.

Howard is on a big, bright stage now with a Lakers team that had a pretty average defense last season. Talk to people around the team and they think it is Howard’s defense that is the biggest change he brings to this team.

Howard says he wants his award back, he wants to win a fourth DPOY. That would tie him with Ben Wallace and Dikembe Mutombo for most in a career with four. If he can cover up some of Steve Nash’s defense at the point he deserves to be in the mix.

  1. joshm5683 - Oct 23, 2012 at 9:23 AM

    Lakers fan here and I think Howard is a great defensive player and am excited to have him on the team, but there is more to playing defense than just rebounds and blocks. Chandler did a great job last year of just commanding the defense and leading it. He got guys in position, he made everyone bring more energy on the defensive end, recovering to his man off pick and rolls, sliding over to help defend, etc. I think D12 was better last year than Ibaka who just got a ton of blocks but was a pretty average on ball defender, but I think Chandler won that award rightfully. Hope Howard comes back super motivated on that end of the floor this year for my Lakers!

  2. tubal22 - Oct 23, 2012 at 9:40 AM

    Would have been nice if the Magic had someone to defend them against Howard. Never seen anyone destroy an organization like he did last year.

  3. rareohs - Oct 23, 2012 at 9:48 AM

    meh. i don’t know, maybe he should focus on being a better teammate and winning a title rather than filling up his trophy shelf with individual awards?

  4. michaeljordanseviltwin - Oct 23, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    Dwight Howard won defensive player of the year thrice because Orlando’s defensive efficiency ranked:

    2009 – 1st
    2010 – 1st
    2011 – 3rd

    He deserved it all three years because that team had very few talented defenders. He cleaned up their messes in spectacular fashion. In 2012 Orlando ranked 13th while the Knicks were a surprise at 5th. All of the credit goes to Tyson Chandler. Amare, Carmelo & Jeremy Lin weren’t shutting anybody down.

  5. miamatt - Oct 23, 2012 at 10:17 AM

    D12 sure doesn’t get it if he thinks he got robbed. I love how he makes himself the victim once again.

    In any case, Chandler was deserving, but if not him then it was clearly LBJ to anyone paying real attention. He guarded all five positions and was never exposed, not to mention he’s the best chase-down blocker in the game. Ibaka is a nice player but overrated due to the undue emphasis on blocks as a critical defensive stat.

    • michaeljordanseviltwin - Oct 23, 2012 at 10:31 AM

      LeBron has been playing excellent D for 4 seasons, better than any non-center. I’d like to see him win DPoY soon but centers get so much more credit since they hang around the paint and are able to blow up dribble penetration. LeBron doesn’t get to help as often but how can you not be blown away watching him shut down speedy point guards like Rondo & Rose. Quick PGs have always been the toughest cover in the league but LBJ sticks with them and forces a bad shot or pass.

      • bougin89 - Oct 23, 2012 at 2:33 PM

        I totally agree Lebron has really improved on D and is a great defender but he doesn’t chase around quick PG’s like you stated. The only reason he matched up on Rondo and Rose is because he would sag off them and let them shoot from the outside. He didn’t play chest to chest with them. It is a credit that he is a versatile enough defender to do this but he wouldn’t be matched up with a speedy PG that can shoot(nor should he be asked to at his size).

    • progress2011 - Oct 24, 2012 at 5:20 PM

      bougin…

      Please share with me, the name of ANY ONE PLAYER that can go “chest to chest” with Rose or Rondo.

      Heck, MOST NBA players, that are starters, require a full double or at least a zone type defense, to control their offensive outbursts.

      The Great M.J. is probably the standard, when you “Think” shut-down defender. However, the Bulls as a team, schemed a great defense.

      I remember when M.J. attempted to check A.I. as you say “chest to chest”…….ahahahaha, Jordan’s ankles probably still hurt !

      So, at the end of the day, LBJ could have easily won MVP, Finals MVP, NBA Champ, Olympic Gold AND Defensive Player of the Year.

      It would have been totally legit.

  6. moseskkim - Oct 23, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    Never seen so many comments each with no thumbs down. Even sad stories freaks come and thumb down r.i.p. wishes. Just thought it was crazy.

  7. sellahh - Oct 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Howard should have won DPOY last year.
    In the annual GM survey, Howard has been named far and away the best defender. Only reason Chandler won that award was people got tired of Howard’s antics. Any discussion beyond that is pointless because you’ll be trying to prove what’s not true.

  8. juanandonly24 - Oct 23, 2012 at 11:28 AM

    If DPOY meant ‘Detrimental Player Of the Year’, then Howard should have won that award

    • sellahh - Oct 23, 2012 at 11:29 AM

      because u were in the orlando magic lockerroom

  9. bougin89 - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:15 PM

    I don’t think anyone would disagree that Dwight Howard is the best defensive player in the league but I am also of the opinion that Chandler deserved DPOY last year. Howard played well but like others have posted above this award is about more than just blocks and rebounds. Also, just like you wouldn’t vote for a player that basically tore apart a team for MVP, same can be said for DPOY, at least in my opinion.

  10. aboogy123456 - Oct 23, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Two guys that were overlooked last year that I think were a better pick for defensive player of the year are Noah and Lebron.

    Noah protected the paint as well as chandler, but he also has amazingly quick feet that let him guard forwards out on the perimeter much better. Bulls also were one of the top defensive teams, and noah doesn’t get enough credit.

    I don’t like lebron but he was clearly the best defensive player in the league last year. I think he didn’t win it just because he was the MVP, but a big reason he was the MVP over players like paul and durant, was because of his defense.

  11. skids003 - Oct 23, 2012 at 3:04 PM

    Maybe as a consolation award they can award him the Butthole of the Year trophy. He certainly “did his job” to get that one.

  12. eugenesaxe - Oct 23, 2012 at 6:41 PM

    Yeah, whining about this is a good start to rehabilitating your image. Stay classless.

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