With points at a premium this season, the true defensive specialists have emerged from the fold. It is not easy to muster the energy to shut down the other team's best player three times in four nights — or even three times in three nights, on occasion. But a chosen few have answered the call.
For the last three seasons, the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year award has been the sole proprietorship of Dwight Howard, but his back injury and recent uninspiring play may have opened the door for another deserving defender to step up. While Celtics guard Avery Bradley is not quite in the discussion — yet — Kevin Garnett definitely is.