Pistons' Wallace Wins Defensive Player of Year
Posted Apr 20 2002 1:17PM
Big Ben receives an unprecedented 96.7 percent of the vote
NEW YORK, April 20 -- Ben Wallace of the Detroit Pistons was named the 2001-02 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, the NBA announced Saturday.
Wallace, a 6-foot-9, 240 pound center/forward, averaged 13.0 rebounds per game and 3.48 blocks per game joining Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton and 12-time NBA All-Star Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players in NBA history to lead the league in rebounds and blocks in the same season.
In the most convincing Defensive Player of the Year vote ever, Wallace received 96.7 percent of the votes (116 out of a possible 120) from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Dikembe Mutombo of the Philadelphia 76ers and the Lakers' Kobe Bryant were the only other players who received votes. Last season, Wallace finished fifth with six votes.
Wallace is the first player other than Mutombo or Alonzo Mourning to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award since 1995-96 (Sonics' Gary Payton) and the first Piston to win the award since Dennis Rodman in 1990-91.
Wallace helped the Pistons to their first Central Division title since 1989-90, the year Detroit won its second straight NBA championship. This year's team improved from a 32-win season last year to a 50-win season this year, the first 50-plus-win season for Detroit since 1996-97.
Wallace also led the club's defensive surge as Detroit held its opponents to 92.2 ppg (sixth in the NBA) this season as compared to 97.3 just a year ago. The Pistons also finished best in the NBA in blocks (565).
Wallace grabbed an NBA season-high 28 rebounds in a 109-101 win versus Boston on March 24 and blocked an NBA season-high 10 shots on Feb. 24 at Milwaukee.
The six-year NBA veteran, who went undrafted out of Virginia Union '96, also averaged 7.6 points on .531 (255-for-480) shooting with 1.73 steals per game over 36.5 mpg in 80 games (80 starts). He ranked second in offensive rebounds (318), third in defensive rebounds (721) and 14th in steals (138).
The 120-member voting panel consisted of 35 national media members and 85 media members who cover the NBA.
2001-02 NBA Defensive Player of the Year results
Top five winning margins
1982-83: Sidney Moncrief, Milwaukee
1983-84: Sidney Moncrief, Milwaukee
1984-85: Mark Eaton, Utah
1985-86: Alvin Robertson, San Antonio
1986-87: Michael Cooper, L.A. Lakers
1987-88: Michael Jordan, Chicago
1988-89: Mark Eaton, Utah
1989-90: Dennis Rodman, Detroit
1990-91: Dennis Rodman, Detroit
1991-92: David Robinson, San Antonio
1992-93: Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston
1993-94: Hakeem Olajuwon, Houston
1994-95: Dikembe Mutombo, Denver
1995-96: Gary Payton, Seattle
1996-97: Dikembe Mutombo, Atlanta
1997-98: Dikembe Mutombo, Atlanta
1998-99: Alonzo Mourning, Miami
1999-2000: Alonzo Mourning, Miami
2000-01: Dikembe Mutombo, Philadelphia
2001-02: Ben Wallace, Detroit