NBA: Ranking the careers of the 7 perimeter defenders that won DPOY
The Defensive Player of the Year award has been dominated mostly by interior defenders. While during the first decade of its inception from the 1982-83 regular season, it was mostly won by excellent perimeter defenders (about whom we will be discussing later on in this article), since then predominantly centers and forwards have won this award.
Defense is the less glamorous aspect of basketball that never gets as much attention as the offense, which is why our list comprises of some basketball greats whose names are alien to the youngsters in today's generation.
In ranking these 7 players, we have judged the entire careers of the players in question. In one particular case, we have made an exception for the fact that the player is still active and has flashed the potential to justify his positioning in this list. Here goes our ordering:
#7 Ron Artest/Metta World Peace
Career stat line: 13.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.5 blocks per game
Career Honors: NBA Champion (2010), Defensive Player of the Year (2004), All-NBA Third Team (2004), All Star (2004), 2xAll-Defensive First Team (2004, 2006), 2xAll-Defensive Second Team (2003, 2009)
Ron Artest was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 16th overall pick in the 1999 NBA draft. After playing 2 and a half seasons with the Bulls, he was traded to the Indiana Pacers, for whom he played the best basketball of his career. Artest played for the Pacers for 4 years, during which he made 2 All-Defensive teams and won the Defensive Player of the Year award.
Artest won an NBA title with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010, knocking down an important 3-pointer in game 7 of the Finals series late in the 4th quarter to give the Lakers a sizeable lead to defend in the last few minutes against the franchise's arch rivals - the Boston Celtics.
Artest's primary defensive strength were his quick hands, which he used to great effect while making steals - during his 3rd season in the league, he was averaging 2.8 steals with the Bulls before being traded. Artest had a high basketball IQ, good bulk and was a versatile defender who could guard positions 1-4.
The season that Artest won the DPOY award, the Pacers made the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to eventual NBA champions - the Detroit Pistons. Artest remained a great defender through the course of his career - even in his final seasons with the Lakers.