CHICAGO — Dwight Howard’s third consecutive runaway victory for NBA Defensive Player of the Year was as impressive as the distribution of the votes were curious. The Orlando Magic center was a no-brainer for most of the 120 writers and broadcasters chosen by the league to select the winner; he got 114 first-place votes and five second-place votes.
But that means other players had their names written first a total of six times. And some voter left Howard off the three-slot ballot entirely (he got no thirds).
Boston’s Kevin Garnett got one first-place vote, 20 second-places and 12 thirds. His 77 points left him a distant second to Howard’s 585 (first-place votes are worth five points, second-place are worth three and thirds are worth one.)
Dallas’ Tyson Chandler finished third with 70 points on 20 seconds and 10 thirds. Nothing shocking there, nor that Memphis’ Tony Allen, Boston’s Rajon Rondo and Milwaukee’s Andrew Bogut lined up fourth through sixth, respectively.
But Houston’s Chuck Hayes got two votes for No. 1. Hayes finished 12th overall with 13 points, but two people thought he was the league’s best defender? Chicago’s Joakim Noah (15th) got one first-place vote despite missing 34 games; he got two seconds, too. His Bulls teammate, Keith Bogans (20th), also got a first, presumably from someone who confuses the lack of an offensive game with the presence of great defensive chops. Phoenix’s Grant Hill got the other first-place vote, contributing to a point total (30) that earned him seventh place overall.
Then there’s the curious fact that one of the 120 voters left Howard off his or her ballot entirely. Asked what he would say to that person, Howard said: “I’ll do better next year. So you can vote for me.”
Here at Sekou’s hideout, we’re more interested in what Magic coach Stan Van Gundy would say to that voter.