Defensive Player of the Year
Currently ranks 10th in the league in steals (1.79), ninth in the league in blocks (2.20) and fourth in rebounds (11.3) ... Has blocked more shots than the opposing team 22 times this season (the Pistons are 19-3 in those games) ... One of only five players in NBA history to have six consecutive seasons with 100 blocks and 100 steals ... Has grabbed 20 or more rebounds three times this season and 15 or more 17 times ... Has blocked five shots or more 11 times ... Three-time Defensive Player of the Year (2002, 2003, 2005) ... Four-time All-Defensive First Team member (2002-2005)
Any conversation on Defensive Player of the Year has to begin with Detroit's Ben Wallace, seeking his fourth trophy in five years. Only Dikembe Mutombo is a four-time winner, but Wallace could join him this season. Starting alongside three other All-Stars and the long-armed Tayshaun Prince, Wallace's numbers have dipped to the lowest of his career in Motown. Cause for alarm? Nope. He still ranks fourth in the league in rebounds per game, ninth in blocks per game and 10th in steals per game. No other player in the league ranks in the top 10 of all three categories.
-- Jeff Dengate
From the media:
The Pistons' defense isn't quite as good as it's been in years past, and that's shown in slight dropoffs this season in Big Ben's denials (11.6 rebounds, 2.2 blocks). But only Mourning is close to Wallace when it comes to taking over a game when it counts, with intelligence and intimidation.
-- Philadelphia Inquirer
A fan's take:
Really, is there any debate here? Ben Wallace is defense. He is defense in its purest form. Who else in the league is powerful enough to guard Shaq one-on-one and slow him down, then is quick enough to harass point guards? NOBODY! Ben Wallace guards everyone on the floor and dominates the game by forcing his will on his opponents. Big Ben does this night in and night out, taking pride in his ability to be a disruptive force on defense. No one else can stake a claim to being able to lock their opponent down on such a consistent basis throughout the year but Ben. There is no question of his right to receive this award.
-- Brandon - Lawrenceville, Georgia
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
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images