NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award

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head shot of Michael Jordan
Michael Jordan is one of four players to have won both an MVP and a Defensive Player of the Year award in their career.
head shot of David Robinson
David Robinson won the award in the 1991–92 NBA season.
Gary Payton is the only point guard to win the award.
Dwight Howard at a game
Dwight Howard has won the award three consecutive times in his career.

The NBA's Defensive Player of the Year Award is an annual National Basketball Association (NBA) award given since the 1982–83 NBA season to the best defensive player of the regular season. The winner is selected by a panel of 124 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada, each of whom casts a vote for first, second and third place selections. Each first-place vote is worth five points, second-place voted are worth three points, and a third-place vote is worth one. The player with the highest point total, regardless of the number of first-place votes, wins the award.[1][2]

Since its inception, the award has been given to 21 different players. Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace have each won the award a record four times.[3] Dwight Howard is the only player to ever win the award in three consecutive seasons.[4] Sidney Moncrief, Mark Eaton, Dennis Rodman, Hakeem Olajuwon, Alonzo Mourning, and Kawhi Leonard have each won it twice. The most recent award recipient is Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz.

Although five of the first six winners were perimeter players, the award has traditionally been given to big men who rebound and block shots.[5][6] Only seven perimeter players have been honored: Moncrief, Alvin Robertson, Michael Cooper, Michael Jordan, Gary Payton, Ron Artest (known now as Metta World Peace), and Kawhi Leonard.[7] Payton is the only point guard to have won.[8] Jordan,[9] Olajuwon,[10] David Robinson,[11] and Kevin Garnett[2][12] are the only Defensive Player of the Year winners to have won the NBA Most Valuable Player Award (MVP) during their careers; Jordan and Olajuwon won both awards in the same season.[7] In Olajuwon's case, he is the only one to have also won the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award and the NBA championship in the same season.[10] On four occasions, the Defensive Player of the Year recipient was not voted to the NBA All-Defensive First Team in the same year. Robertson in 1986, Mutombo (1995), Tyson Chandler (2012), and Marc Gasol (2013) were instead named to the second team. Whereas the Defensive Player of the Year is voted on by the media, the All-Defensive teams were voted on by NBA coaches prior to 2014.[13][14]

Frenchman Rudy Gobert is the only winner who was trained completely outside the U.S. Out of the other three winners born outside the U.S., Mutombo and Olajuwon both played U.S. college basketball, and Gasol played U.S. high school basketball. Joakim Noah, who has played for the French national team, was born in New York City and played both high school and college basketball in the U.S.

Winners

^ Denotes player who is still active in the NBA
* Inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Player (X) Denotes the number of times the player has received the award
Season Player Position Nationality Team
1982–83 Sidney Moncrief Guard  United States Milwaukee Bucks
1983–84 Sidney Moncrief (2) Guard  United States Milwaukee Bucks
1984–85 Mark Eaton Center  United States Utah Jazz
1985–86 Alvin Robertson Guard  United States San Antonio Spurs
1986–87 Michael Cooper[a] Guard/Forward  United States Los Angeles Lakers
1987–88 Michael Jordan*[a][b] Guard  United States Chicago Bulls
1988–89 Mark Eaton (2) Center  United States Utah Jazz
1989–90 Dennis Rodman*[a] Forward  United States Detroit Pistons
1990–91 Dennis Rodman* (2)[a] Forward  United States Detroit Pistons
1991–92 David Robinson*[a][b] Center  United States San Antonio Spurs
1992–93 Hakeem Olajuwon*[a][b] Center  Nigeria[c] Houston Rockets
1993–94 Hakeem Olajuwon* (2)[a][b] Center  Nigeria[c] Houston Rockets
1994–95 Dikembe Mutombo* Center  Zaire[d] Denver Nuggets
1995–96 Gary Payton*[a] Guard  United States Seattle SuperSonics
1996–97 Dikembe Mutombo* (2) Center  Zaire[d] Atlanta Hawks
1997–98 Dikembe Mutombo* (3) Center  Democratic Republic of the Congo[d] Atlanta Hawks
1998–99 Alonzo Mourning*[a] Center  United States Miami Heat
1999–00 Alonzo Mourning* (2)[a] Center  United States Miami Heat
2000–01 Dikembe Mutombo* (4) Center  Democratic Republic of the Congo[d] Philadelphia 76ers
2001–02 Ben Wallace[a] Center  United States Detroit Pistons
2002–03 Ben Wallace (2)[a] Center  United States Detroit Pistons
2003–04 Ron Artest[a][e] Forward  United States Indiana Pacers
2004–05 Ben Wallace (3)[a] Center  United States Detroit Pistons
2005–06 Ben Wallace (4)[a] Center  United States Detroit Pistons
2006–07 Marcus Camby Center  United States Denver Nuggets
2007–08 Kevin Garnett[a][b] Forward/Center  United States Boston Celtics
2008–09 Dwight Howard^ Center  United States Orlando Magic
2009–10 Dwight Howard^ (2) Center  United States Orlando Magic
2010–11 Dwight Howard^ (3) Center  United States Orlando Magic
2011–12 Tyson Chandler^[a] Center  United States New York Knicks
2012–13 Marc Gasol^ Center  Spain Memphis Grizzlies
2013–14 Joakim Noah^ Center  France[f] Chicago Bulls
2014–15 Kawhi Leonard^[a] Forward  United States San Antonio Spurs
2015–16 Kawhi Leonard^[a] (2) Forward  United States San Antonio Spurs
2016–17 Draymond Green^ Forward  United States Golden State Warriors
2017–18 Rudy Gobert^ Center  France Utah Jazz
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