Dwight Howard had a big smile on his face a day after making his debut for the Los Angeles Lakers, but he feels the sting of how things finished in Orlando when he thinks of his trophy shelf.
Howard was recognized as the best defender in the league as well as the best interior defender when NBA.com announced the result of its annual survey of the league’s 30 general executives, but Howard still wants to find out why he isn’t the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Betting lines
“I thought I should have won it last year, to be honest with you,” Howard told reporters. “I was a little bit upset about that.”
Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks was named the league’s DPOY last season, ending Howard’s 3-year run as the award winner. Chandler earned 45 first place votes and 311 total items to take home the trophy.
Thunder’ Serge Ibaka was 2nd with 41 first place votes and 294 points. Howard received just 18 first place votes and 186 points.
“I felt like I did my job to win it. I also feel like I didn’t because to the whole situation,” Howard said, referring to the uncertainty surrounding his future with the Magic and the distraction it became. “That played an element in it.”
The award was voted on by a panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters all though the United States and Canada.
Howard averaged more rebounds (14.5 to 9.9) and blocks (2.2 to 1.4) per game than Chandler, but played in just 54 games due to his back injury. Chandler, who played in 62 games, was credited for turning around the Knicks’ team defense, helping N.Y rank among the league’s best in opponent turnovers per game (17.0, 2nd in the NBA), competitor field goal % (44.2 percent, 10th), and opponent scoring (94.7 points per game, 11th).
Howard, who announced his “whole body” was sore after filling up the box score with 19 points, 12 rebounds and 4 blocks in 33 minutes in his 1st game as a Laker on Sunday, wants to win the award in L.A this season. Michael Cooper is the only Laker to be named Defensive Player of the Year, following the 1986-87 season.
“That’s the goal, that’s always the goal,” Howard said.
Defensive-minded Lakers coach Mike Brown described what makes Howard so effective on defense.
“First of all, his intelligence,” Brown said. “Second of all, his willingness to defend, and then you combine those 2 things with his size, his strength, his athleticism, his flexibility, agility, his power, explosiveness … I mean, all those things that you nor I have. All those things joined with the intelligence and the will and the need to be a great defender at that size makes him that. I mean, you think about Bill Russell — somebody that can dominate the game or change the game on that end of the floor. He can set the set the table defensively for your team like (Steve) Nash can do it offensively for your team.”
Howard stated that he is looking forward his defensive ingredients to the new group of players assembled in Los Angeles