(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The Orlando Magic have called a press conference for Monday afternoon in order to announce that Dwight Howard has won this NBA's Defensive Player of the Year Award. The news release only said the announcement was "major" and pertained to the NBA and the team, but there's no doubt as to its purpose. Indeed, Howard will take home his third straight Defensive Player of the Year Award today.
Howard neither led the league in rebounding nor in blocked shots, but nonetheless put together a dominant defensive season. He averaged 10.1 defensive boards, 1.4 steals, and 2.4 blocks individually. More importantly than the individual numbers, though, he anchored the league's third-most efficient defense (101.9 points allowed per 100 possessions). Perhaps this view is reductive, but no team which counts Brandon Bass, Jason Richardson, and Hedo Turkoglu among its leaders in total minutes ought to be elite defensively. But Orlando is, due largely to Howard and coach Stan Van Gundy's game-planning and preparation.
NBA awards usually stir up some sort of debate, but there should be no debate about Howard's merits here. He is on his own tier as a defender.
Howard becomes the first player in history to win this award in three consecutive seasons.