The NBA announced Wednesday (May 2) that New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler has been named the 2011-12 Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the player in franchise history to earn the honor.
Chandler received 311 points, including 45 first-place votes, from a panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the U.S. and Canada, beating out Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka who finished second with 294 points, and Orlando’s Dwight Howard who had won the award each of the previous three seasons.
Thanks to Chandler’s defensive prowess, he helped the Knicks defense remarkable improve from previous seasons. The team ranked among the top half of the league in several key defensive categories, including opponent turnovers per game (17.0, 2nd), opponent field goal percentage (.442, 10th), and opponent scoring (94.7 ppg, 11th).
Opposing teams averaged 22.5 more points and shot .520 from the field when Chandler was not in the lineup. When he was, opponents shot .438. Additionally, Chandler grabbed 22.1 percent of his team’s defensive rebounds when he was on the floor.
During the 2011-12 regular season, he averaged 3.4 offensive rebounds per game, and 9.9 rpg overall; 0.9 steals per game; and 1.4 blocks per date. He also shot 67% from the field, averaging 11.3 ppg in 62 games.
As part of of the Defensive Player of the Year Award, Kia Motors America will donate a new Kia Sorento CUV on behalf of Chandler to Art for Life Foundation, which focuses on creating programs that help kids who are undergoing physical, emotional or mental crisis to use art as a way of helping them work through and with their illness.
Kia Motors will present a brand new Sorento to the charity of choice of each of five 2011-12 year-end award winners — including Most Improved Player, Sixth Man, Most Valuable Player of the Year Awards, and this year for the first time, Rookie of the Year.