Friday, May 4, 2012

Tyson Chandler Wins Defensive Player of the Year Award
New York Knicks Center Tyson Chandler was named the Defensive Player of the Year earlier this week.  There is no player that deserved the honor as much as him.

This award has been a year in the making for Chandler.  He was the main cog in the defense that slowed down Lebron James and the Miami Heat last season en route to an NBA title last season for the Dallas Mavericks. 

Following that championship run last season, Chandler joined the Knicks this off-season as a free agent.  He came to a Knicks team that is not known for their defense, ranking 22nd in defensive efficiency last season.  This season, with Chandler manning the middle, the Knicks improved to 5th in defensive efficiency this season.  

Interim Head Coach Mike Woodson has, on multiple occasions, said that Chandler deserved the award.  “He’s done everything to put us in the position where we are today,” Woodson said last month.  “You don’t find very many centers that (are) committed like he is, don’t have any hidden agendas.  You know, it’s not about Tyson Chandler, it’s always about the team and, you know, that speaks volumes.”
Chandler averaged 11.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.4 blocks and 0.9 steals per game this season.  They are not eye popping numbers, but the impact Chandler had on a team as a whole plays into the decision for him winning the award.  He was able to change the culture around a team that had previously just worried about how many points they could score in a game. 

Chandler is not one to put personal goals ahead of the team, but this award is one he sets his sights on.  “It seemed like every time I thought I maybe I got close to being an All-Star or something like that, it was like something always came up,” he said.  “And so to win this … I never set out for individual goals, except for this one because I felt like if you’re Defensive Player of the Year, you’re changing something and you’re helping win ballgames.  So to win it, I was speechless.”

Chandler was presented the trophy before Game 3 between the Knicks and Heat by four-time award winner Dikembe Mutombo.  He is also the first Knick to receive the award in the history of the franchise.

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