NEW YORK – Tyson Chandler has been voted the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year for his impact on the New York Knicks, a person with knowledge of the award said Tuesday.
The Knicks went from tied for 27th in the NBA in opponent points per game last season to 11th in their first season with Chandler at center. They trimmed 11 points off the 105.7 they yielded in 2010-11.
Chandler's victory was first reported by Yahoo Sports.
The person told The Associated Press of the honor on condition of anonymity because the official announcement was to come from the NBA. The award will be announced Wednesday.
Chandler helped Dallas win its first NBA title last season, but the Mavericks made no attempt to re-sign him so they could retain salary flexibility for this summer.
So Chandler quickly became the top big man on the market and the Knicks, long one of the league's worst defensive clubs, emerged as a surprising suitor. They even waived point guard Chauncey Billups using the amnesty clause so they could fit Chandler under the salary cap.
He was worth it, particularly after the Knicks became a more defensive-minded team following coach Mike D'Antoni's resignation in March. The Knicks went on to finish seventh in the Eastern Conference and trail Miami 2-0 in their first-round playoff series.
Chandler averaged 9.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots. He also had one of his best offensive seasons, averaging 11.3 points and shooting an NBA-high 67.9 percent from the field.
Chandler becomes the first Knicks player to win the award and ends the three-year winning streak of Orlando's Dwight Howard.