While Dwight Howard may once again be the sexy pick because of the blocks and rebounds, the team success and floor time statistics weigh heavily toward Kevin Garnett. "Per Game" statistics also push towards Dwight Howard, but many would argue it's because of Dwight's extended minutes.
Let's break this down by the numbers...
The first statistic i want to look at is Individual Defensive Rating. Defensive Rating is how many points your opponant would score if you gave them 100 possessions. So the lower the number, the better the defense.
Kevin Garnett is currently leading the league with a 94.3, while Dwight is positioned in second with a 94.5. While it's extremely close, i'd chalk this up to a KG victory.
The 2nd statistic is Defensive Rebounding Percentage. DRB% is the percentage of available defensive rebounds a player grabs while on the court. Every time the opponent misses a shot that miss is considered a potential defensive rebound, when in the game Dwight Howard grabs 30.1% of those while KG grabs 29.4%. The nod goes to Dwight.
Next on the list is a combination of two different statistics.
Very similar to the Defensive Rating there is also a Team Defensive Rating. By looking at a team's Defensive Rating with and without a particular player, you can see the impact that player has on the team defense. The Boston Celtics with KG on the floor have a Defensive Rating of 98.5. The Orlando Magic with Dwight have a rating of 103.8. Now this shows that Boston is the better defensive team, but it's also rating Orlando's poor defenders that share the floor with Dwight, so we'll now take a look at the ratings without the two. Boston's Defensive rating takes a serious dive without The Big Ticket, it goes from 98.5 with him to 105.6, that's a drop off of 7. Orlando's rating doesn't drop off nearly as violently, technically it actually improves. Orlando is a 103.8 with their defensive leader and 103.1 without him. This is undoubtedly a statistic in KG's favor.
The last factor is taking a look at how much each of these big men improve the play of their teammates. KG's impact on the Celtics has been undeniable. He's changed the attitude of the Celtics since coming to The Hub in 2007, added a defensive swagger. Simply put- Garnett makes his teammates great defenders by raising their individual defense- he does this not only by playing beside them on the court, but also by pushing them to improve in practice. As a result of KG's presence, Boston has 3 other Celtics who rank in the top 20 for individual Defensive Rating (Rondo, Pierce, Davis). Dwight Howard on the other hand is there by himself. This may be the statistic that pushes KG over the top.
Do you think KG should be the NBA's 2011 Defensive Player Of The Year?