Teams all have their offensive standouts that draw big crowds and garner all sorts of attention, but it's the players that expend energy on the defensive end that help win close games.
The NBA Defensive Player of the Year award is given to the athlete that shows the most prowess in the most underrated part of the game. Since 1982, a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters have casted their votes for the best defender.
Since its inception, the award has been primarily won by big men in the league that block shots and gobble up rebounds. Players like Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace have won the award by hounding the glass and protecting the paint.
Entering this season, Dwight Howard had won the award in back-to-back years. His brute strength inside and dominant shot-blocking ability proved to the panel that he was deserving. Howard is trying to make a case for the award again this year, but has some worthy competitors.
Here's a list of the top 10 defensive players during the 2010-11 season.