Sunday, June 17, 2012

Defensive Player of the Year: Tyson Chandler?

By John Woods, Spencer Pyke & Adam Maher

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Adam: This subject is a bit old (about a month), and to some, perhaps stale, but to me, as long as Knicks fans exist, will forever remain up for debate and in some ways, an umbrella notion that is representative of my relationship with all True Blue with a hint of orange New York sports fans.

Truth be told, year in and year out, New York sports fans might have the most emotional roller coaster to ride in all of sports. And for this Devils/Red Sox/ex-Nets/Jets fan from Northern New Jersey, it makes all of them incredibly too sensitive and annoying to talk sports with. That mixed with the fact that since they have so many teams with so much history, they're very knowledgeable - which is insanely frustrating to deal with in itself. It's led to severed friendships in some cases - aka me thinking they are all a bunch of whining expletives, them thinking they win arguments because frankly, I just don't care by the time the conversation reaches what regularly would be a mid-point which most of the time leads to complete and utter disrespect on my part towards them and their feelings - of which they have SO many.

Perhaps its the win-factor, with the standard for excellence raised higher by the Yankees and more recently by the Giants than our favorite inmate, Floyd Mayweather. Or maybe it's the lose-factor, with the standard set lower than that kid who played McLovin's post-Superbad career (just kidding, you're the man, bro...just kidding, you suck) - no team from New York has captured a world title besides the Giants and the Yankees since the 1994 Rangers (Mets 1986, Knicks 1973, Nets never, Islanders 1983 - not to mention never winning a championship in any NCAA divisional sport that matters - like any of them do. I'll leave the Jets 1969 Super Bowl Championship out of this because I'm trying to hold onto what's left of my ever-since-I-started-liking-them fan deterioration before it's too late and I become a BC Lions fan.).

Throw in the fact that besides the Yankees and Giants (Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens - whose awards regardless have BIG FAT * stamps next to them, and Michael Strahan), no player from the New York area has been awarded a trophy for individual excellence that I find relevant (NBA, NHL, or NFL MVP, NBA or NHL Scoring Champion, NBA 6th Man of the Year, NBA, NFL, or NHL Defensive Player of the Year - not to mention their "Mecca of Basketball" pretty much stops with the words "high school diploma," at which point that "mecca" is spread all around the country to places like Florida, Minnesota, SoCal, Texas - anywhere but NYC - like Will Smith's cure for cancer) in the last 15 years.

So when Tyson Chandler was awarded the NBA Defensive Player of the Year this season, it was no surprise that when I completely disagreed with the award going to him, every Knicks fan in the world disagreed with me.

The absolute only defense that I heard went something like this: "Well, when Amar'e lost it, and Carmelo went missing, and D'Antoni failed and Jeremy Lin's reincarnation took a halt and everyone realized that Landry Fields is a mediocre defender at best all we had was Tyson and Iman Shumpert to claim as defenders. And they saved the Knicks season."

So you're telling me that Tyson, who was 9th in the NBA in rebounding this season and 19th in blocked shots per game saved your season, which barely got you into the playoffs and got you destroyed by Miami in the first round...and that's worth NBA DPOY?

John: Adam - this is more about the voting procedures than whether or not Chandler should have won.

The discrepancy between the voting for Defensive Player and Defensive Team can be explained by the different groups voting for each award. A group of sportswriters vote for Defensive Player. Coaches vote for Defensive Team. (A coach cannot vote for his own player.)

This reminds me of Gold Glove voting in baseball, where managers and coaches vote. To be blunt, the voters there have no idea what they're doing most of the time. Errors and fielding % are often used as factors, when both are severely flawed. Derek Jeter has 5 awards, though he's one of the worst defensive shortstops of all time. (But he's a gamer!!!!!111!!!1!!111!!!) Reputations factor in greatly; Rafael Palmeiro won an award in a year where he played 28 games in the field, likely because he had won the previous two. Until last year "outfield" voting was not by position, so three center fielders always won.

Similar problems exist in basketball. Kobe made 9 first teams, including last year's, even though he had knee problems so severe last year he had to go to Germany for treatment over the lockout break. Andre Iguodala actually outpointed Kobe this year, but didn't make it because Kobe had more first place votes, and he and Dwyane Wade were both better than Kobe last year. But Kobe made it on reputation. Positions don't matter either; in 2006 the second team had only one guard (Chauncey Billups) and three center/forwards (Tim Duncan, Marcus Camby, Kevin Garnett).

I'm not surprised that Dwight Howard made it over Tyson Chandler - first team all NBA. The last two years where the Defensive Player of the Year did not make first-team All-Defense had similar cases. In 1986 Alvin Robertson won, but Sidney Moncrief made the team over him; Moncrief had made first-team three years in a row at the time. In 1996 Dikembe Mutombo was beaten out by David Robinson, Robinson's 6th straight appearance. Howard had made All-Defense 4 years in a row; Chandler had 1.

Most likely the coaches just checked off Howard's name without thinking twice. And that just shows how much thought they put into the voting: a lot less than the fans do.

Spencer: It is no surprise that the media selected Tyson Chandler as this year’s recipient of the DPOY Award, but they could not have been more wrong.

Tyson, who like Adam mentioned via me was 9th in the NBA in rebounds per games and 19th in blocked shots per game, was on a Knicks team that came into the 2012 season with a new emphasis on defense, thanks to Mike Woodson. Woodson, the defensive coordinator before taking over as the interim head coach, placed defense as the top priority and it showed, in their team stats.

Let me remind you, NBA DPOY is an individual performance award.

Clearly Tyson did not deserve it with his Carlos Boozer type numbers, so who did?

Dwight had better stats and is drastically better than Chandler, but to win it for the fourth consecutive time during an injury-plagued season would be absurd. Roy Hibbert had more blocks per game than Chandler, but was not as effective on the glass as Ty, so he gets the boot as well. Serge I-Block- A went HAM on opposing offenses night in and night out, averaging 3.65 blocks a game, but was outrebounded by Chandler and on a way worse defensive squad, see ya later Serge.

That leaves us with our Bro who should have won it: Andrew Bynum. Yeah, I said it, Andrew Bynum. Dude gets no respect despite having one of the highest NBA efficiency ratings in 2012. Bynum had more blocks per game and rebounds per game than Chandler and since NY lovers want to bring team stats into it, his team only allowed, on average, one more point than the Knicks, playing in a way better conference.

Unfortunately, his lack of maturity put a bulls-eye on his back, primarily for the media to aim at; therefore the NBA went with the feel-good story in Chandler.

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