Dwight Howard is NOT my Defensive Player of the Year

, Wednesday, April 22, 2009 at 3:09 AM Comments (1)

On April 21st the National Basketball Association named Dwight Howard the Defensive Player of the Year. First let me start off by saying CONGRATS DWIGHT HOWARD! That being said, illness Dwight Howard, see you are NOT the Defensive Player of the Year in the National Basketball Association.

If you are so intent on choosing a Defensive Player of the Year from Florida, cialis look no further than Dwyane Tyrone Wade, Jr. Everyone says that defense wins championships – well the Miami Heat are not going to win a championship but they did make the playoffs and that is an achievement for that franchise. That achievement is not a result of the new-look Heat, it is a result of the defensive fervor Wade breathed into his Heat teammates. Everyone knows of Wade’s revived offensive ability from which garnered him his first NBA Scoring Title with an average of 30.2 points per game – thank you OssaTron treatment. Everyone also knows of Wade’s late game defensive heroics. The one thing that has gone under the radar has been Wade’s yearlong defensive superiority. Unfortunately his Miami Heat team figured out something the opposition could not – how to mask his defensive brilliance. The Miami Heat were so mediocre many people did not attend or tune-in to see Wade’s defensive genius. For those of you who missed it let me briefly tell you about it: 2,386 points, 589 assists, 173 steals, 106 blocks, 398 rebounds over 79 games. Dwayne Wade became the first player in NBA history to amass at least 2,000 points, 500 assists, 100 steals and 100 blocks in a season; the fifth player in NBA history to reach 2,000 points, 500 assists and 150 steals in a season; and the first player [listed] under 6 feet 5 inches to record 100 blocks in a season. “How did I miss this feat of basketball brilliance you ask?” Let me submit the following evidence into consideration – the Miami Heat became only the second team in NBA History to reach the postseason after winning 15 or fewer games the previous season. Yeah, I wouldn’t have watched a game either if I were you. Dwayne Wade willed his Miami Heat team from a 15-67 2007-08 record to a 43-39 2008-09 record. That coupled with the previously stated statistics is one hell of an argument for at least the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award and quite possibly NBA Most Valuable Player but it’s a foregone conclusion that Mr. LeBron James has that award all but sewn up.

Speaking of LeBron James, I reach my other candidate for consideration for NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Sorry Dwight, you finish #3 in my voting. King James definitely showed that he reigns supreme in the NBA this year. He led his Cleveland Cavaliers to the best record in the NBA and a league best 39-2 home record. Defending home court is all about defense, ask anyone who knows the feeling of having a target on their back which is exactly what Cleveland had this year. Oh, did I mention that LeBron James won Mike Brown his NBA Coach of the Year award? To echo the sentiment of Tony Kornheiser when notified that Mike Brown won the NBA Coach of the Year, “Really, for having LeBron?!” Once again that is a case for NBA MVP but let’s look deeper into the stat sheet to find the defensive merit. James recorded 93 blocks, 22 of them were chase-down blocks. What’s the significance of a chase-down block you ask? Well, it basically means 1) James had to recover defensively, as opposed to the guy driving the ball to a basket James is robotically protecting and 2) the blockee was likely NOT James’ defensive assignment. This season James led the Cavaliers in all five major statistical categories making him the fourth player in NBA history to do that, again, an argument for MVP until you look at Cleveland’s roster. Granted there is no defensive wunderkind but when you take into account the defensive role players you find that James’ defensive achievements on this team are laudatory. But what could you possibly reward him with that wouldn’t insult his accomplishments, Defensive MVP maybe? To win both the NBA MVP and Defensive Player of the Year is unlikely but not unheard of – think Michael Jordan in ’87-’88 and Hakeem Olajuwon in ’93-’94. Did I mention that LeBron James is the best defender on the #1 defensive team in the NBA? Fathom that, the best defensive player on the best defensive team didn’t win the Defensive Player of the Year award. Is that not a conundrum?

All the previous being said, I know what you’re thinking why NOT Dwight Howard? Believe me, I’m not hating the player nor am I hating the game. I’m not jealous because he’s 6’11” and the most dominant big man in the NBA and I’m a big man trapped in a little man’s body. No-no, that’s not why. Here’s why: “I don’t think right now that we’re on the same page, to be quite honest. I think that his [Howard’s] priorities need to be defense and rebounding. To me it’s a matter of focus. His focus is on the offensive end. He gets discouraged when he doesn’t get the ball. I think the numbers prove – I don’t think, I know the numbers prove that what we need him to focus on to win is defensive rebounding, but that’s not what he wants to do right now and so we’ve got a little bit of a conflict,” said Stan Van Gundy. Yes, Orlando Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy. Yes, Mr. Front-runner himself. Did he just throw Howard under the bus? If he didn’t then he definitely tripped Howard up so that he fell underneath the bus. If you ever watch Howard man the glass, you will find that most, if not all, of his rebounds are because of his jumping ability not because of the work he puts in to get position. If Howard doesn’t have position, he has no rebound – offensive or defensive. “[Dwight Howard] is a good player who can jump,” according to Shaquille O’Neal and I agree, for the moment. Howard’s jumping ability allows him to block shots that most players can only gaze at especially when he’s planted in front of the basket. How difficult is it to have a little hand-eye coordination when you’re 6’11” with nearly a 40 inch vertical that allows you to divert everything within a 3-foot radius of the basket?

Remember those late game defensive heroics from Dwayne Wade – you won’t find very many from Dwight Howard, know why? He’s on the bench. Now maybe Stan Van Gundy is a bad coach, clearly he throws his players under the bus, but no coach puts their best defensive player on the bench in crunch time unless… So, if you’re not the best defensive player on your team, which is not the best defensive team in the league, what claim do you have to the Defensive Player of the Year award?

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