Unlike the Most Valuable Player or Rookie of the Year awards, the Defensive Player of the Year isn't hard to grasp. There's no quibbling about the term "valuable" or splitting hairs about a decent rookie on a playoff team versus a star rookie on a lottery club.
The best defensive player in the league during the season is named the Defensive Player of the Year. Period.
That unofficial definition should (unnecessarily) explain why Dwight Howard has won the honor two years running. He has the single biggest impact in terms of making opposing teams completely alter their approach to getting buckets (more on this later).
Howard could very well be the first three-time DPOY since Ben Wallace's monopoly over the trophy (four times in five years from 2001-06.) Then again, it'd be foolish to discount some other young-and-improving intimidators who also merit consideration.
With that in mind, Bleacher Report brings you the top five candidates for Defensive Player of the Year for the 2010-11 season.