Anyone have a problem with that? Besides Artest, I mean?
In a landslide, Orlando's Dwight Howard won his second straight Defensive Player of the Year award, trailed in the voting by, in order, Josh Smith, Gerald Wallace, LeBron Somethingorother (a real up-and-comer, I hear), and Rajon Rondo. Artest was next, a scant 547 points behind Howard in the voting.
Kobe Bryant, for the record, finished 12th.
Given the award is (or at least should) be reflective of a season's worth of defensive impact, I certainly wouldn't argue with Howard winning the award. Whether Artest should have been ahead of Smith, Wallace, James, or Rondo is, to be perfectly honest, hard to say. I saw 77 games worth of Ron this year, far more than any of the other guys. It's hard to compare. (This, by the way, gets to a larger problem with DPOY voting; Given how hard it is to quantify defense statistically, it puts an extra premium on taking in more game action than most writers can reasonably put in. Reputation, then, can play far too large a role in the results.)
But there is a reasonable question to be asked here. Were you pleased with Artest's defense this season? This is no empty query. You can vote on it below. As always, your comments are welcome.
&amp;amp;lt;br /&amp;amp;gt; &amp;amp;lt;a href="http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/3084899/" mce_href="http://answers.polldaddy.com/poll/3084899/"&amp;amp;gt;Have you been pleased with Ron Artest's defensive play?&amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;lt;span mce_&amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;lt;a href="http://polldaddy.com/features-surveys/" mce_href="http://polldaddy.com/features-surveys/"&amp;amp;gt;survey software&amp;amp;lt;/a&amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;lt;/span&amp;amp;gt;&amp;amp;lt;br /&amp;amp;gt;
I'm voting "yes." There have been moments, mostly due to extra weight and problems with his feet, where Artest was less than consistent. But overall he's been good, and there have been moments throughout the season where he singlehandedly altered the course of games in favor of the Lakers. His work against Joe Johnson early in the season, on Carmelo Anthony in February, in San Antonio the following month, just to name a few. For a healthy portion of the season, before injuries and complacency began to take a toll, the Lakers were the best defensive team in basketball.
For that, I give major credit to Artest.
Now offensively, it's been a different story. Artest has been all over the map in terms of his comprehension of the system, and his shooting has fallen off a cliff. But I wasn't asking about offense, just D. And on that side of the ball, I'm more than satisfied.
(For the record, I was in favor of the Artest/Ariza "swap" when it happened, and still see it as a net positive for the Lakers.)