Denton: Dwight Named to All-Defensive First Team

By John Denton
May 9, 2011

ORLANDO – In what has almost become an annual rite of spring, Orlando Magic superstar center Dwight Howard was once again honored on Monday as the NBA’s premier defensive player.

Howard, the only player in NBA history to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award three consecutive years, was the NBA’s highest vote-getter for the All-Defensive Team. It was Howard’s third consecutive year on the first-team squad, while he was a second-team choice in 2008.

He received a league-best 27 votes for the first team and two votes for the second-team, giving him 56 points overall. The NBA’s 30 head coaches vote on the award and a coach is not allowed to vote for a player on his team.

Boston’s Rajon Rondo (39 points), Miami’s LeBron James (38 points), Los Angeles’ Kobe Bryant (33 points) and Boston’s Kevin Garnett (33 points) rounded out the first-team squad. Memphis’ Tony Allen (23 points), New Orleans’ Chris Paul (18 points), Dallas’ Tyson Chandler (17 points), Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala (15 points) and Chicago’s Joakim Noah (15 points) made the second-team All-Defensive squad.

Howard was once again a defensive anchor for a Magic team that won 52 games and reached the playoffs for a fifth straight season. He ranked second in the NBA in rebounding (14.1), fourth in blocked shots (2.38) and 19th in steals (1.38). And he did all of that while authoring his finest season ever on the offensive end, ranking 11th in scoring (22.9 points), second in field goal percentage (59.3 percent). The scoring and steals numbers were career highs.

He also had NBA-bests of 66 double-doubles and six Eastern Conference Player of the Week awards. That consistency helped him finish second in the balloting for the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award – his highest ever after finishes of fourth, fourth and fifth the past three years – while also nabbing the Defensive Player of the Year award for a third year in a row.

Howard notched several notable achievements along the way this season, becoming the youngest player ever to 7,000 rebounds (25 years, 83 days), the fifth-youngest to 10,000 points (25 years, 95 days) and only the fifth player ever to have 6,000 rebounds and 1,000 blocked shots in his first 500 games in the NBA. After registering another 1,098 rebounds and 186 blocked shots, he topped 1,000 boards and 100 blocks for the sixth consecutive season. Since blocks became an official statistic in 1973-74, only Moses Malone (seven seasons) has accomplished that feat more.

Swatting shots and grabbing tough rebounds in traffic are areas where Howard has made his greatest marks. He blocked three or more shot 29 times this season and the Magic were 21-8 in those games. Throughout his career, the Magic have won 70.2 percent of the time when he blocks at least three shots, 79 percent of the time when he swats four shots and 80.4 percent of the time when he has five or more rejections. One such instance came early in the season when Howard blocked a franchise-record six shots in the third quarter and eight overall against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

John Denton writes for E-mail John at Submit a question to John for his mailbag segment at