7 NBA Stars Who Will Push Tyson Chandler for Defensive Player of the Year Award

Ciaran Gowan@@CiaranGowanContributor IIIAugust 30, 2012

7 NBA Stars Who Will Push Tyson Chandler for Defensive Player of the Year Award

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    The Knicks' defense went from one of the NBA's worst to one of the NBA's best last season, and the play of center Tyson Chandler had a lot to do with it.

    After anchoring the Dallas Mavericks' zone defense during their title run of 2011, Chandler came to New York and completely changed the defensive culture with his dominating play.

    Eventually, Chandler was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year for his efforts, becoming the first player not named Dwight Howard to win it since 2009.

    As the reigning champ, Chandler has every chance of repeating next season, but here are seven players who could cause him some big trouble.

Dwight Howard

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    Dwight Howard's reputation has been at an all-time low over the last year or so, but now that he's made it to the league's most popular team, the hype surrounding him is back again.

    Even when his off-the-court decision-making dominated the headlines, everyone knew Howard was the NBA's best center, but now we'll finally be able to see him again without the distractions.

    Howard had won the award three times in a row before Chandler did so this season, and one could definitely have made the case that he deserved to win it in 2012, too.

    In fact, Howard actually pipped Chandler as the starter in the NBA All-Defensive First Team this season, much to the surprise of many.

    On a title-contending team in the biggest media market, Howard is going to be the center of attention once again, and with the light shining over his defensive ability, there's every chance he'll get his fourth DPOY award in 2013.

Serge Ibaka

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    He may not be an elite all-round defender just yet, but there is still no disputing that Serge Ibaka is the NBA's best shot-blocker.

    At such a young age, if Ibaka can develop a great defensive game in the post to go along with his work on help defense, he should be right up there with Dwight Howard and Tyson Chandler in the Defensive Player of the Year discussion.

    In fact, Ibaka was already in the discussion last season, as he finished second, ahead of Dwight Howard by some distance.

    If he can do that without a fully-developed defensive game, we can only imagine how popular he'll be amongst the voters next season if he comes back with a more finely-tuned man-to-man game.

LeBron James

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    Not only is LeBron James the best player in the world, but he's one of the best defenders, too.

    As proof of this, James has been a member of the All-Defensive First Team since 2009, and it doesn't look like he'll be unseated any time soon.

    He's the only player in the NBA who can guard all five positions well, and his signature chase-down block is one of the best plays to watch in basketball.

    With All-Star appearances, MVP's and now an NBA Finals MVP to his name, LeBron has already had a glittering career, and you'd have to think that at some point he'll add the Defensive Player of the Year award to his list of accolades, too.

Anthony Davis

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    Though a relatively raw offensive talent, Anthony Davis' unlimited potential on defense was more than enough to justify the Hornets making him the No. 1 overall pick of the 2012 draft.

    At 6'10", Davis is one of the longest power forwards in the game, and as he showed us during his time at Kentucky, he knows exactly how to use that length against opposition shooters.

    Unlike most elite shot-blockers, a lot of Davis' blocks come outside of the paint, which adds an extra, dangerous dimension to his game.

    If Davis can adapt to the NBA quickly, he should be a contender for the Defensive Player of the Year award in no time.

Chris Paul

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    Point guards don't often find themselves in the Defensive Player of the Year discussion, but if there's one that deserves a shot at the title, it's Chris Paul.

    A former teammate of Chandler's, Paul already has a long list of defensive accolades to his name, having led the league in steals four times, and been named to the All-Defensive First Team twice.

    Paul is the best pick-pocket in the NBA today, and is the type of player who can cause some real problems for opposing point guards on any given night.

    Not since Gary Payton in 1996 has a player other than a power forward or center won the award, but Paul is one of the few players outside of those two positions that deserves a mention at the very least.

Andre Iguodala

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    Despite being a member of this year's Team USA squad, it always seems that Andre Iguodala is one of the NBA's more under-appreciated players.

    Most basketball fans know that Iggy is a great defensive player, but in fact, he may well be the very best wing defender in the game.

    Despite this, Iguodala only has an All-Defensive Second Team appearance to his name so far in his career, which seems a little bit off from where I'm standing.

    Now that he has a new home in Denver, hopefully the swingman can turn some more heads and get the attention he deserves for his play on defense, and maybe even challenge his Team USA teammate, Tyson Chandler, for the Defensive Player of the Year award.

Kevin Garnett

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    Though he may have been on the verge of retirement this offseason, Kevin Garnett is still one of the NBA's best defenders.

    With his experience and fiery personality, Garnett is the undisputed leader of one of the NBA's elite defenses out in Boston, and both he and the Celtics should have continued success on that end of the floor next season.

    Garnett won the award in his first season with the Celtics back in 2008, and his defense hasn't really regressed at all since then, so by that logic, he'll definitely have a shot at the title.

    With Andrew Bynum in his division, along with an improved Amar'e Stoudemire, Garnett will have a lot of work to do on defense, not that that's ever caused him too many problems.