Shawn Marion - Phoenix Suns
Defensive Player of the Year

2005-06:
Currently ranks fifth in the league in steals (1.98), 17th in the league in blocks (1.70) and third in rebounds (11.8) ... Only NBA player ranked in the top 20 in points, rebounds, steals, blocks, field goal percentage and minutes ... Named Western Conference Player of the Week for Dec. 26 - Jan. 1 and Player of the Month for February ... Recorded eight steals on 2/6 vs. MIN ... Has recoreded three or more steals 32 times this season, including six straight games from 3/23-31 ... 2006 Western Conference All-Star ... Has recorded 59 double-doubles (third in the league) ... One of 23 players named to the USA Basketball Men's Senior National Team Program

Our take:
This may be but a footnote in NBA history, but it speaks volumes about this candidate's ability: During Michael Jordan's final All-Star appearance in 2003, on a team full of the world's best basketball players, who did the West All-Star squad select to guard perhaps the greatest scorer ever at the end of regulation and late in both overtime sessions? Yep, Shawn Marion. This year, the do-everything forward is on pace to rank in the top five in rebounds and steals for the second consecutive season -- only one other NBA player has done it once since the league started to track steals in 1973-74 (David Robinson, 1991-92).
-- Brad Friedman

From a teammate:
He's so unique, there's nobody in the league who does what he does. His ability to guard different people, block shots, steal the ball, rebound. A lot of his scoring comes off quick cuts, and he's to the rim before anyone sees him.
-- Steve Nash, New York Times (reg. req'd)

A fan's take:
Marion probably has about as much chance of winning this award as he does of ever getting the credit he deserves for the incredible numbers he puts up all year long. Marion is in the top five in steals and rebounds, and in the top 20 for blocked shots, all while playing power forward at 6'8, 220 lbs. and guarding the likes of Elton Brand, Dirk Nowitski, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, who all tower over him and outweigh him. He has boundless energy and effort, but for some reason, no one outside of Phoenix (and Ernie Johnson on TNT who also has Marion picked for his Defensive Player of the Year) seems to notice. Lets hope he gets his due before his eligible for the Hall of Fame!
-- Erika - Phoenix, Ariz.

The Numbers:
G MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3P% FT%
80 40.4 21.7 11.9 1.8 1.98 1.70 .522 .326 .816

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

MAKING THE CASE FOR ...
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Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images