NBA: Top 5 Candidates for Defensive Player of the Year

LeBron BryantAnalyst IMarch 9, 2012

NBA: Top 5 Candidates for Defensive Player of the Year

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    Sure, offense gets the glory, but defense is underrated in the NBA.

    Some players give their best defensive effort every night to wreak havoc on opposing players.

    Whether it's blocking the layup, contesting the jumper or great on-ball defense, these players mean everything to their teams on the defensive end.

    Here are the five current candidates for Defensive Player of the Year.

LeBron James

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    It's no question LeBron James has the greatest range of anyone on this list. James has guarded all five positions at one point or another this season.

    It's expected of James to defend guards and forwards because of his athletic ability, but watching him throw around Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard in the post has been pretty exceptional.

    James is once again one of the best wing defenders, alongside teammate Dwyane Wade, and he is 11th in the league in steals per game.

Andre Iguodala

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    Andre Iguodala anchors the Philadelphia 76er's defense.

    It is safe to say the team would not have the NBA's top-ranked defense without him.

    Iguodala often finds himself on the opposing team's best offensive player.

    He also leads all forwards in steals per game this season.

DeAndre Jordan

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    DeAndre Jordan has the same amount of blocks as Dwight Howard, yet he has played in four fewer games.

    Jordan is the best defender on the L.A. Clippers and defends the paint well.

    Many thought this would be the year Jordan broke through as one of the league's best defenders, and he has not disappointed.

Dwight Howard

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    Dwight Howard has won the Defensive Player of the Year trophy three consecutive years. Howard has once again been a fixture on the defensive end, policing the paint as only he can.

    Will Howard win four consecutive defensive titles?  Only time will tell, but there is actually stiff competition this year to thwart Dwight's chances.

Serge Ibaka

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    Serge Ibaka has been the best defensive player in the NBA this year.

    Ibaka has been the enforcer for the Oklahoma City Thunder that many thought Kendrick Perkins would be.

    Serge leads the league in blocked shots.

    Ibaka's highlights this year include two 10 block games—the first coming against the Dallas Mavericks and the latter against the Sacramento Kings.

    Ibaka may be well on his way to his first career Defensive Player of the Year award.

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