Bruce Bowen - San Antonio Spurs
Defensive Player of the Year

Part of a Spurs team that is holding opponents to 88.8 points per contest (second in the NBA) and .433 shooting (third in the NBA), and the Spurs have been in the top five in each of these categories in each of Bowen's five years with the team ... named to the All-Defensive Team the last five seasons (First Team nods the past two) ... elected as one of 23 players to participate as a member of the 2006-08 USA Menís Senior National Team Program ... recorded his 250th career block on a potential game tying shot by Dirk Nowitzki that preserved a win for the Spurs on 12/1 at Dallas ... With 352 consecutive games played under his belt, he is now the Spurs all-time leader for most consecutive games played.

Our take:
You could determine the Defensive Player of the Year by the amount of shots a player blocks. You could determine it by the amount of steals they swipe. You could even factor rebounds in. You could go with the best defender on the team that gives up the fewest points. The most telling number for how good a defender really is though, is the number of the league's leading scorers that he has enraged. Advantage Bruce Bowen.
-- John Schuhmann

From the media:
Bruce Bowen was named to the United States national team at age 34 because he is known as an on-the-ball defender. Ben Wallace's dominating presence makes him the conventional choice. Andrei Kirilenko leads the league in blocks, Dwight Howard leads in total rebounds and Shawn Marion could win a statistical defensive decathlon. But Bowen gets more players complaining about his aggressive defense, which means he gets into their heads.
-- Liz Robbins - New York Times (reg. req'd.)

A fan's take:
Bruce Bowen is many times overlooked for the award because his defense usually goes unnoticed. He doesn't have these monster blocks that fly into the stands or steals that lead to a throw down. He just plays tight, right-up-in-your-face defense and shuts down his opponent. If you haven't noticed, the stars complain about Bowen all the time. They hate playing against him because he's just so dang good on defense. Wihout Bowen the Spurs most likely would not be where they are today because Bowen is a key aspect to the Spur's team. Although there are many players who can be chosen for the award, Bruce Bowen deserves the Defensive Player of the Year Award for this year. This is his year.
-- Alake - Spring Branch, Texas

The Numbers:
81 33.9 7.6 3.9 1.6 0.98 0.37 .434 .426 .607

Defensive Player of the Year - The Candidates:
Bruce Bowen - San Antonio Spurs
Marcus Camby - Denver Nuggets
Andrei Kirilenko - Utah Jazz
Shawn Marion - Phoenix Suns
Ben Wallace - Detroit Pistons
Gerald Wallace - Charlotte Bobcats

Others worth consideration: Ron Artest, Elton Brand, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson, Jason Kidd, Brevin Knight

Most Improved Player
Rookie of the Year
Sixth Man Award
Coach of the Year
Most Valuable Player

D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images