Detroit's Dennis Rodman, the top defender on the NBA's top defensive team, was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year Monday for the second straight season.
Rodman received 51 of a possible 96 votes from a nationwide panel of sports writers and broadcasters. David Robinson of San Antonio finished second with 18 votes, followed by Milwaukee's Alvin Robertson with 15.The 6-foot-8 Rodman was the league's second-leading rebounder with a 12.5 average and led all Detroit regulars in field-goal percentage at .493. But once again, it was his dymanic defense that set the tone for the two-time defending champions.
Rodman helped the Pistons hold the opposition to 96.8 points per game, lowest in the NBA in 16 years. The five-year veteran often guarded the opposing team's best offensive player, whether he was a guard, forward or center.
"He's a machine," Detroit coach Chuck Daly said. "He is incredibly active. He's got a nose for the ball, and he has a work ethic like no one else in the NBA."
Rodman said it took him a while to realize that he could make his best contribution as a rebounder and defensive specialist.
"Isiah Thomas straightened me out after my first year," Rodman said. "He told me I would not get to shoot as much as I did in college, so I should try to be something other players weren't. I decided to be a role player and do the little things to help us win."
Rodman's teammate, Joe Dumars, received three votes for the defensive award while Houston's Hakeem Olajuwon and Portland's Buck Williams each got two votes. Receiving one vote apiece were New York's Patrick Ewing, Utah's John Stockton, Dallas' Derek Harper and Chicago's Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.