NBA / Nov 11, 2008 / 1:04 pm

The Most Dominant Defensive Player of the Year

Yesterday we debated the Most Valuable MVP in the last thirty years, in which virtually everyone said that Michael Jordan‘s ’87-88 season takes the cake. The crazy thing about that particular season was that MJ also notched Defensive Player of the Year honors. He and Hakeem were the only two on our list to complete that double-feat over the same year.

You’ll find Jordan’s season here along with some ridiculous defensive campaigns, as we’re taking stacking up the greatest defensive seasons of the last thirty years. We went back to 1982-83 to find the thirteen best Defensive POY seasons. (That’s when the award started.) We limited each player to one season a piece.

Who is the most dominant Defensive Player of the Year of the last 26 years?

(Look for “DRtg” below, which stands for a player’s Defensive Rating, which is calculated as how many points their team surrendered per 100 possessions when they were on the floor. The lower, the better.)

* 1990-91 – Dennis Rodman – 9.8 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 0.9 bpg, 0.8 spg, 101 DRtg
(It’s a shame that he didn’t win it the year after when he averaged 18.7 board per night.)
* 1998-99 – Alonzo Mourning – 20.1 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 3.9 bpg, 0.7 spg, 93 DRtg
* 1986-87 – Michael Cooper – 10.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 0.5 bpg, 1.0 spg, 108 DRtg
* 1985-86 – Alvin Robertson – 17.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 0.5 bpg, 3.7 spg, 103 DRtg
* 1992-93 – Hakeem Olajuwon – 26.1 ppg, 13.0 rpg, 4.2 bpg, 1.8 spg, 96 DRtg
* 1991-92 – David Robinson – 23.2 ppg, 12.2 rpg, 4.5 bpg, 2.3 spg, 94 DRtg
* 1987-88 – Michael Jordan – 35.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.6 bpg, 3.2 spg, 101 DRtg
* 1984-85 – Mark Eaton – 9.7 ppg, 11.3 rpg, 5.6 bpg, 0.4 spg, 97 DRtg
* 1995-96 – Gary Payton – 19.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.2 bpg, 2.9 spg, 102 DRtg
* 2002-03 – Ben Wallace – 6.9 ppg, 15.4 rpg, 3.2 bpg, 1.4 spg, 90 DRtg
* 1994-95 – Dikembe Mutumbo – 11.5 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 3.9 bpg, 0.5 spg, 103 DRtg
* 2003-04 – Ron Artest – 18.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.7 bpg, 2.1 spg, 96 DRtg

Who is the most dominant Defensive Player of the Year?

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  • Junio

    Ben Wallace in ’03….the guy was catapulted to superstardom ’cause oh his defense.

  • D-Rob

    Robinson’s 91 92 season was ridiculous

  • Big T

    Hmm, this is a toss-up… between Big Ben and Zo. Since we’re talking about defense, it’s pretty pointless to include their offensive stat-line.

  • http://www.myspace.com/1skills 1SKILLZ

    David Robinson. 6.8 steals/blocks a game?!

  • Dime Magazine

    Big T I go with Big Ben – that DRtg stat of 90 is the best of anyone in this group.

    But remarkably, that wasn’t his best season of keeping other guys from scoring. He had a season in which he posted an 87 DRtg

    – AK

  • MickeyMonday

    David Robinson, EZ…..

  • nick

    the admiral

  • alex

    Big Ben was as good as he was because of Sheed’s length

  • hooper5013

    Admiral, Dream, Ben, Eaton (damn near 6 blocks) and Mike!

  • BxBaller

    David Robinson, dude was averaging 4 and a half blocks a game.

  • justice

    I have to say it’s a 3 way tie for me Gary Payton,Dennis Rodman and Ben Wallace, they all had guys literally scared to play against them people used to have a hard time getting the ball across half court against GP,Rodman guarded everyone from SG’s to C’s, he and his teammates did it so well people came out with books on the shytt(Jordan Rules), Ben Wallace had cats throwing floaters over the backboard in fear he might send it to the frank stand


    Ya David Allday

  • TJ

    “Big Ben was as good as he was because of Sheed’s length”

    Rasheed wasn’t even on the Pistons in 02-03. He came at the end of the next season.

    I vote Wallace.

  • vinny

    The Admiral -4.5 blocks and 2.3 steals!!

  • ab_40

    gotta be the admiral… it’s gotta be him. Plus he beat the Worm who grabbed as you showed almost 19 boars a game that’s almost 4 more then big ben.

    and don’t you think they feared eaton as well 5.6 block per game? you just didn’t see it so it’s less impresive.

  • Lee

    Eaton’s 5.6 blocks a game is unreal !!

  • Smooth


  • James

    David or Ben- gotta be one of them 2

  • that’s whats up

    David Robinson – sick sick season

  • Ian

    finally my fav player ever getting respect hehehehe

    its the admiral easy 6.8 steals and blocks damn

    the fuck are eaton and cooper doing in that group

  • http://allthatjazzbasketball.blogspot.com/ Amar

    eaton won the award backed when it was sponsored by “masterlock”, so he get some more bonus points there just for that.

  • D.H.

    The Admiral. Period.

  • Prof. TX

    I’m surprised to be the first guy picking Olajuwon. He’s the only player in NBA history to be in the top ten in scoring, rebounding, blocks (1st), and steals (7th). Two quadruple-doubles and six 5×5’s don’t hurt either. He could lock down any center in his time (maybe the best era ever for centers) and was fast enough to defend against guards (ask Knicks fans about Dream swatting clutch 3’s).

    And the defensive rating isn’t a great measure here, because it represents a whole team. Ben Wallace has a good rating here because his whole squad was playing defense. Compare that to someone like Camby last year where he was the only guy on the floor trying to play any D. It doesn’t mean one is alot better than the other, just that one had alot more help.

  • Luke

    If you go strictly by season stats, Big Ben and Zo stand out as the two best. But if you go by how nasty they are at defense, I think that Gary Payton just edges out Ron Artest.

  • Ian

    there no way u can pick hakeem over david here is not possible

  • Smitty313

    The Worm.

  • John

    Dennis Rodman, the numbers can’t tell the way that guy was inside the skin of every best player of the other team. Had the lateral moves to guard a SG and the power to guard Shaq ,,,

  • heckler…formerly ‘yallallreadyknow’

    this cannot be measured in numbers.
    defensive rating?…are you kidding?
    even scott brooks could have had a string defensive rating when he was on the floor for houston.

    i tell you right now that i dont believe in such a calculation. look at david robinsons rating for 91-92 season

    who can effect a game defensively the most? of the selections above….
    one can argue hard for alonzo mourning (before the kidney ailment). look at his teams FG% against..(that was due to him patroling the paint and boards and making other teams jump shooters only)

    one can argue hard for dennis rodman. worm was the only player in the league that could (and DID!) guard all 5 positions on the court!

    Deke won a playoff series with his defense; alone. No one on this list can say that….

  • jackass

    wow those are some sick performances. though but worm averaged 18.7 rebounds??? wow really??? howard gets 18 rebounds today and it makes the espn subtitles. sickening

  • P_Dizzle

    Gots to pay respect on Veteran’s Day and give it to the Admiral. Those are some sick numbers. Although you got to admit that Eaton’s 5.6 bpg is sick!

    Robinson gets the nod but The Dream, Worm, and Big Ben get some serious love.

  • Big V

    Why is PPG listed as a criterion?

    I understand that it’s a much more impressive feat to play effectively on both ends of the floor, but it isn’t a prerequisite to win DPOY.


    Rodman, he doesn’t have the stats but blocks and steals aren’t that important for defense. Rodamn could and did shut down everyone at every position

  • doc

    Big Ben

  • Magnifico

    The Admiral takes the cake easily. He was putting up those DPOY stats and racking up 23 points a game? You can’t even comprehend that – – just appreciate that he plays on both ends. That is easily a fantasy stud year.

    Dream is a close second. worm @ 18 rpg is just over the top.

  • Billy Sunday

    david robinsons stats were crazy same with mark eatons 5 blocks per game. but people dont know that jordan is the only the guard to ever have more than 200 steals and 100 blocks in a single season and he did that twice

  • A$$Cube aka Boat People

    Admiral. 4+ bpg AND nearly 3 spg? Are you kidding me?

  • jim

    yeah everyone’s on board from admiral’s 4.5 bpg and 2.3 spg. Those are sick stats, but defense isn’t just stats. I thought Ben Wallace’s season was more memorable in terms of defense than Robinson. That season opposing teams had to adjust their offensive plan to get around the Big Ben roadblock.

  • Pierce

    They dont make centers like Hakeem and David anymore.

    How can you even compare someone like D-Rob to a 2-3 season, one sided sensation like Ben Wallace. No disrespect to Ben, but hes not half the player DRob, or Hakeem was.

    4.5 and 2.3 blocks/steals per game while dominating offensively? DROB’s season was unreal.

  • tay

    2 the people that 4got, ben wallace won DPOTY 2 times before rasheed got there. Also, he is the 1st player in NBA history 2 grab 1000 rebs, 100, steals, and 100 blocks in 4 straight seasons. He is also the shortest center 2 lead the league in Rebs. and blocks in the same season. Only 3 others have done it at all, and they are all hall of famers. BEN WALLACE won a total of 4 DPOTY awards. Him and Mutombo. no one else has more than 2.