Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-US PRESSWIRE
Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard earned his fourth consecutive selection to the NBA's All-Defensive First Team on Wednesday, joining Miami Heat forward LeBron James, Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka, Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen, and Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul. Howard's honor comes despite the fact that he did not repeat as the league's Defensive Player of the Year, which award he's won for three consecutive seasons. Instead, New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler took home the trophy. But Howard got the last laugh, as his selection to the First Team relegated Tyson Chandler to the Second Team.
The media vote on Defensive Player of the Year, which contrasts with the All-Defensive Teams, as the league's coaches vote on them. NBA head coaches preferred Howard to Chandler, and perhaps with good reason: though he appeared in eight fewer games than his New York counterpart, Howard bested him in per-game defensive rebounding (10.8 to 6.5), steals (1.5 to 0.9), and blocked shots (2.1 to 1.4).
Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, Chicago Bulls forward Luol Deng, and Celtics forward Kevin Garnett joined Chandler on the Second Team. Howard was the only Magic player to receive a vote for either squad, earning 16 First-Team votes and nine Second-Team votes. Chandler finished with 13 and 10, respectively.