Mavericks center Tyson Chandler changed the look of the Mavericks on the defensive end this season, turning them into a top ten statistical defense, and his efforts were noticed. Chandler finished third behind Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett in defensive player of the year award voting Monday. Chandler's finish was the highest ever by a Maverick.
Howard won in a landslide with 114 first-place votes. Garnett received one first-place vote. Chandler, in his first season with the Mavs following two injury-riddled seasons with New Orleans and Charlotte, received 20 second-place votes and finished seven points behind Garnett in the final tally.
Howard won the award for the third straight season. Chandler may have to settle for a second team Defensive All-NBA spot, since Howard won't be supplanted, and Chandler wouldn't appear likely to be named as a forward.
Meanwhile, Chandler still has his largest task - defensive success in the playoffs - in front of him.
"I think we're on our way," Chandler said Monday of the Mavs becoming an elite defensive unit. "The more we believe in it the better we get. We definitely have the potential to do that. We're not up there with the teams that I've watched throughout the year that have really kicked it into high gear, but we're getting there."