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New York's Tyson Chandler Wins 2011-12 KIA NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award

Three Memphis Grizzlies Place in Top 20 in Voting For First Time in Team History

Joe Murphy/NBAE/Getty Images

Memphis, May 2, 2012 – Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks is the recipient of the 2011-12 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, the NBA announced today. Chandler becomes the first player in franchise history to earn the honor.

For the first time in franchise history, the Memphis Grizzlies placed three players in the top 20 in the voting, including Tony Allen (6th), Marc Gasol (12th) and Mike Conley (15th).

Allen (6-4, 213) averaged a career-high tying 1.79 steals this season (5th in the NBA), recording a single-game franchise record and career-high eight steals on April 23 vs. Cleveland.  Gasol (7-1, 265) finished the season averaging a career-best 1.86 blocks (7th), while Conley (6-1, 185) set a single-season franchise record for steals per game (career-high 2.19, 2nd).

Chandler received 311 points, including 45 first-place votes, from a panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka finished second with 294 points and Orlando’s Dwight Howard, who had won the award each of the previous three seasons, finished third with 186 points. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote received.

With Chandler anchoring the middle, New York’s defense improved markedly from the previous season in multiple categories. The Knicks ranked among the top half of the league in several key defensive categories, including opponent turnovers per game (17.0, 2nd), opponent field goal percentage (.442, 10th), and opponent scoring (94.7 ppg, 11th). Opposing teams averaged 22.5 more points and shot .520 from the field when Chandler was not in the lineup. Opponents shot .438 with Chandler in the lineup. In addition, Chandler grabbed 22.1 percent of his team’s defensive rebounds when he was on the floor.

As part of its support of the Defensive Player of the Year Award, Kia Motors America will donate a new Kia Sorento CUV on behalf of Chandler to Art for Life Foundation, which focuses on creating programs that help kids who are undergoing physical, emotional or mental crisis to use art as a way of helping them work through and with their illness. Kia Motors will present a brand new Sorento to the charity of choice of each of five 2011-12 year-end award winners as part of the “The Kia NBA Performance Awards.”  Following this season, Kia Motors will have donated a total of 21 new vehicles to charitable organizations since its support of the NBA’s prestigious year-end honors began with the 2007-2008 season.

The 2011-12 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award is part of a series of on-court performance awards called “The Kia NBA Performance Awards.” The series, currently in its fifth season, is a significant part of the multiyear marketing partnership between Kia Motors America and the NBA, and also includes the Most Improved Player, Sixth Man, Most Valuable Player of the Year Awards, and this year for the first time, Rookie of the Year.  It also includes the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month which are awarded during the regular season.  For more information on the “The Kia NBA Performance Awards” visit www.NBA.com/performanceawards.