Throughout his career in the NBA, Dwight Howard has been considered the league’s best center without much debate around the league. Howard possesses all the skills needed to dominate on both ends of the floor and was even able to put the team on his back to lead the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals back in 2009.
As a result of Howard’s dominance on the defensive end of the floor, the superstar center won the Defensive Player of the Year award three years in row. Unfortunately, despite continuing to put up solid defensive numbers last season, Howard was denied the award for a fourth straight year after it went to Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks.
Heading into this season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Howard has expressed his disappointment for not winning DPOY honors last season. Many believe that Howard was robbed of a fourth DPOY award with Chandler not even being voted to the All-Defensive First Team while Howard was given that distinction.
DimeMag.com compiled a list of the top 10 candidates for the DPOY this season with Howard sitting at the top:
1. Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers
The backlash will be fierce. Really, it already has been, though not quite at the LeBron James level of hate. Tuesday’s opening loss against a Dirk-less Mavericks team didn’t help at all, but after being denied a fourth straight DPOY last season, Howard still opens up as the favorite this year.
LeBron James of the Miami Heat comes in a No. 2 on Dime’s list of leading candidates for the league’s best defender this season followed by last year’s winner in Chandler, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Serge Ibaka and Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics rounds out the top five.
Of the names mentioned above, LeBron and Ibaka are solid candidates in my opinion after last season’s breakout performances on the defensive end of the floor. Garnett is a bit of a stretch at 36 and don’t see Chandler repeating.
Other players that also made the list of candidates are Tony Allen (Memphis Grizzlies), Andre Igoudala (Denver Nuggets), Omer Asik (Houston Rockets), Josh Smith (Atlanta Hawks) and rookie Anthony Davis (New Orleans Hornets).
Check out Dwight Howard rejecting Blazers rookie Damian Lillard: