For the second time in four years, Utah Jazz center Mark Eaton has been named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year.
The voting, announced Thursday, was close. The 7-foot 4-inch shot-blocker, who anchored the NBA's stingiest defense, received 26 votes, edging Houston's Akeem Olajuwon.It was the closest voting in NBA history, beating the 1983 standard when Sidney Moncrief of Milwaukee had 14 votes to 10 for Tree Rollins of Atlanta. Moncrief is the only other player to win the award twice.
With Eaton averaging 3.84 blocks per game (Golden State's Manute Bol averaged 4.31), Utah became the first team since 1983 to allow fewer than 100 points per game - the Jazz allowed 99.7.
"He creates more problems than anyone else in the league," said Portland center Sam Bowie.
Top vote getters
1. Mark Eaton, Utah 26
2. Akeem Olajuwon, Houston25
3. Dennis Rodman, Detroit 23
4. Manute Bol, Golden State 4
5. Michael Jordan, Chicago 3