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In terms of opponent points per game, what team would you wager has the best defense in the NBA thus far?
The Miami Heat rank 29th in the league in that category despite being in the top five last season.
The Los Angeles Lakers have three players who have garnered plenty of defensive accolades: Dwight Howard, Metta World Peace and Kobe Bryant. But they rank just 19th out of 30 teams.
The San Antonio Spurs have been a defensive staple for more than a decade, so they’d be a solid guess, but they have the fourth-best defense as far as points allowed per game are concerned.
Believe it or not, the New York Knicks lead the league, giving up just 85.3 points per game.
Credit needs to be given to head coach Mike Woodson for introducing a defensive culture, but Tyson Chandler won Defensive Player of the Year a season ago and instilled a defensive presence with this team.
Chandler’s numbers haven’t been huge so far this season—averaging just seven rebounds and one block per game—but other candidates around the league haven’t made a solid case for themselves, and the Knicks have the best defense so far.
Once Dwight Howard gets more comfortable with the Lakers, he should settle in and make a strong push to win the award for the fourth time.
Serge Ibaka is another candidate due to his shot-blocking prowess. He’s averaging an impressive 2.3 blocks per game this year, but by his standards, that is below par.
Again, there’s no clear-cut winner for DPOY after one week. However, Chandler has to be in consideration in the early as the reigning winner of the award on one of the league’s best defensive teams.
Other Candidates: Dwight Howard, Serge Ibaka, Tony Allen, LeBron James