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Dwight Howard: Serge Ibaka should have won Defensive Player of the Year over Tyson Chandler last year, Marc Gasol this year

Apr 25, 2013, 9:30 AM EDT

Dwight Howard, Marc Gasol, Mike Conley, Wayne Ellington

Told Marc Gasol won Defensive Player of the Year and that he finished 14th, Dwight Howard didn’t sound thrilled with the result. Mark Medina of inside the lakers:

The news caused Dwight Howard to say “it’s funny,” but he wasn’t offering his signature smile.

“It’s just funny,” Howard said. “That’s okay. We got next year and I got a long time. This year’s funny.”

Howard averaged more defensive rebounds, blocks and steals – both per minute and per game – than Gasol.

Like when LeBron James lost MVP to Derrick Rose, nothing held Howard back more than voters’ irritation with how he changed teams. Howard probably could have handled his departure from Orlando better, but that doesn’t affect how well he defends.

The second-biggest factor working against Howard was his drop in production relative to previous years, but he shouldn’t have been competing with previous versions of himself. He should have been competing with other players in 2012-13.

However, unlike the LeBron-Rose situation, Howard didn’t deserve the award. Gasol did.

With Gasol on the court, the Grizzlies’ defensive rating was 95.4. With Howard on the court, the Lakers’ defensive rating was 101.7. Gasol played with better defensive teammates, but they didn’t account for such a large gap. Besides, Memphis’ defense improved more when Gasol played than Los Angeles’ did when Howard played.

But don’t bother Howard with those advanced stats. Via Medina:

Serge Ibaka with all the stuff he did this year, he should’ve been the guy to win it this year and last year,” said Howard, though the award went last season to New York’s Tyson Chandler. “With the stuff he’s done on the defensive end. I thought he was the clear cut winner. But people saw it otherwise.”

“He led the league in blocks. That’s what defense is all about,” Howard said of Ibaka. “He led the team and was number one in blocks this year. You can’t play defense without having any shot blockers. He was the No. 1 shot blocker the last two years. That’s great defense right there.”

I don’t hear Howard saying he shouldn’t have won Defensive Player of the Year in 2010-11, when Ibaka led the league in total blocks and Andrew Bogut led the league in blockers per game. But here is a summary of what Howard did say:

1. Blocks = defense

2. Every Defensive Player of the Year since he won has been incorrectly assigned.

  1. skids003 - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:03 AM

    Wahhhh!!! Big cry baby.

  2. jollyjoker2 - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:21 AM

    What does dwight know? He rebounds okay- but can’t dribble and is slow to the ball. His defense is average at best. Lakers are done in 4. They have no kobe, their point guard is old and Howard is average to a little above. That’s it.

  3. dasportsninja - Apr 25, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    I have been a Lakers Fan for 22 years. I think getting Dwight Howard has been bad for business. He is nearly impossible to like.

  4. lakerluver - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:18 AM

    It is funny! I mean, who wins it next, Kevin Durant?

  5. jaerba - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:22 AM

    That second quote is so painful to read. I mean, blocks and shot alteration are important, but not as important as good decision making and communication. I guess there’s a difference between help defenders and man defenders and usually the help defenders garner all the attention because they’re more likely to get highlight blocks, but it’s good that the voters recognized an all-around terrific defender rather than someone who just goes for highlight plays.

    • jaerba - Apr 25, 2013 at 11:46 AM

      Also just for reference, ’08 Celtics were 18th in blocks. ’98 Bulls were 23rd. ’04 Pistons were 1st.

      Blocks may be a defensive stat, but they don’t tell you that much about how good a defense is.

  6. misterdreamer119 - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:02 PM

    Punk. I despise that team and most of their miopic fans yet im so glad wight howard is on the lakers and not on my team:
    the celtics.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:53 PM

      You could use him to avoid this work you’re getting from the Knicks.

      • themars211 - Apr 25, 2013 at 7:01 PM

        A Load Lux fan…lmao!! ” You gonna get this work”

  7. stephenolszewski - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:13 PM

    Down 2-0 and he’s too worried about Defensive player of the year talk, Dwight is wasted talent in my eyes could easily dominate at his position and be the best Center in the league but still immature and always about me me me, not sure which was worse for Lakers fans Bynum and his no knees taking threes or Dwight’s selfish attitude

  8. themars211 - Apr 25, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    “With Gasol on the court, the Grizzlies’ defensive rating was 95.4. With Howard on the court, the Lakers’ defensive rating was 101.7. Gasol played with better defensive teammates, but they didn’t account for such a large gap. Besides, Memphis’ defense improved more when Gasol played than Los Angeles’ did when Howard played.”

    So you say 2 DPOY (Gasol and Tony Allen) candidates on the same team and on the floor at the same time doesn’t account for the gap….I call BS. If u don’t have to worry about a leaky perimeter defense because you have arguably the best perimeter defender in the game on your team doesn’t make your job easier as a big man, then nothing does. I’m not arguing that Gasol should not have gotten the award or that Dwight should have gotten it, but 2 DPOY candidates on the same team kinda makes for a formidable defense. How do you decide who is the key reason for the teams defensive success.

    • Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      By that same logic, LeBron should not be MVP because he plays with two All-Stars, as does Durant; unlike Anthony.

      • tims8705 - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:09 PM

        No, that’s not the logic at all. He specifically said he wasn’t saying Gasol shouldn’t have won the award, which is what you are insinuating.

        He is correct – the author of the article says “his teammates don’t account for that big of a gap.” No explanation, stats, facts, or even opinions really to back it up. Just a complete BS blanket statement

      • themars211 - Apr 25, 2013 at 2:35 PM

        Who said anything about Lebron and the MVP. There is not another MVP caliber player on that roster. Take Lebron away from the heat and they aren’t even close to being the same team. He allows Wade, Bosh and the Heat for that matter to be who they are. Now take away Tony Allen from Grizzlies and lets see how well the defense does without him. Its a great luxury to have a perimeter defender that can cover the teams best outside guy and that makes your big’s job that much easier.

    • andy45386 - Apr 26, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      MWP won a DPOY, Kobe is 9x defensive 1st team.

      The Lakers had the ability, but needed someone to take charge on defense the way Kobe did on offense. If Dwight would have put his foot down and held his teammates accountable, he may have finished higher.

  9. Mr. Wright 212 - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:51 PM

    Not dominant enough on the boards, and gambles for blocks, leading to too many easy layups.

    Only debate was Duncan, not Ibaka.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 25, 2013 at 5:39 PM

      Ibaka wins the best shot to the ball sac! That guy plays dirty.

  10. kb2408 - Apr 25, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    @misterdreamer, that’s easy to say…when you know he would never join the Celtics anyway. As a matter of fact, when was the last time the Celtics were able to attract an elite free agent? They had to trade for Ray and then beg KG to play for them. Their last “elite” free agent before that was Bill Walton!

  11. themars211 - Apr 25, 2013 at 7:05 PM

    Its funny hearing everybody down playing the block shot like its a worthless stat. I agree you can play fantastic defense with out great shot blocking. At the same time there is nothing more intimidating than a great shot blocker. It changes the way you play on offense tremendously if you have someone in the paint you know will put your shot into the stands ( personally i like guys that control the block). Plus when you think about shot blockers, most of there blocks are on a player other than one they are guarding and is usually covering up for another defenders mistake or getting beat. So if covering up for your teammates deficiency’s isn’t a part of being a great defender then what is? There is a reason guys like Mutombo lasted for so long in the league.

  12. kobeluver - Apr 26, 2013 at 3:10 PM

    Kobes all defense awards are a joke.
    None other than Phil Jackson said this.

    He hasnt been all world defensively in 13 years. He’s a gambler and out of position and putting his team in bad spots defensively.

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