Top 5 Candidates for 2013-14 NBA Defensive Player of the Year

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2013-14 NBA Defensive Player of the Year: Top 5 Candidates

NBA
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Defensive Player of the Year typically goes to a power forward or center, usually someone who excels in blocks and steals. Since the award was introduced in the 1982-1983 season, only six players who did not play power forward or center have won the award. Several players will look to become the seventh player on that list at the end of the 2013-2014 season.

Marc Gasol winning the DPOY award was somewhat of a shock. Not because he wasn’t good -- he was one of only six players to finish the season averaging at least 1.5 blocks and 1.0 steals per game -- but because Lebron James was that good.

James always puts on a show when he plays defense from guarding every position, to sprinting back on fast breaks, to blocking what the opposing player thought was an uncontested layup. To say James was upset about the results would be an understatement.

But James wasn’t the only one upset. Indiana PacersRoy Hibbert took his frustration out on the media during a press conference after Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Hibbert had a legitimate gripe about the Pacers not being shown on national television; how could the media vote for those they could not watch?

Well, the Pacers increased their national TV exposure by a whopping three games this year. Check out the Top 5 candidates to win the 2013-2014 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award to see if those three extra games pay off for Hibbert.

Mathew Muncy is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMuncy

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5. Paul George

Pacers
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Paul George finished eighth in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year last season. Indiana Pacers head coach Frank Vogel said he believes George would win DPOY before Hibbert. It shows George’s defense has impressed not only his coach, but the national media as well. Unfortunately for George, those impressions will only push him up three additional spots in the voting this season.

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4. LeBron James

Lebon
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James finished second in the Defensive Player of the Year voting last year and was none too pleased about it. James will have a lot to focus on in 2013: winning a third championship, winning a fifth MVP, and deciding whether to opt out of his contract. His defense will stay good all around, but he won't be asked to guard all five spots this year. All those distractions and takeaways means James will slip to no. 4 next year.

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3. Marc Gasol

Marc
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Marc Gasol took home the Defensive Player of the Year trophy last year, but the competition in 2013-2014 will be much stiffer. Everyone knows LeBron James actually wants to win the award, and Roy Hibbert showed off his defensive prowess during the NBA Playoffs, which was on national TV. Look for Gasol to continue to be one of the best defensive big men in the game, but he's going to slip to no. 3 next year.

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2. Dwight Howard

Dwight
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Dwight Howard finished 14th in voting last season. Not a big surprise given how often injured he was, but look for the three-time Defensive Player of the Year to make a return to the top-five next season. He transitioned from the spotlights of Los Angeles to the suburbs of Houston, so don't expect to hear the same criticism you did while he was in Los Angeles. Howard's going to dominate on defense like always, but 2013-14 isn't going to be his year to return to the top.

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1. Roy Hibbert

Roy
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Roy Hibbert made his defensive presence known during the 2012-13 NBA Playoffs. He shut down anyone that came into the lane with his straight-up blocking technique. Just ask Carmelo Anthony. Hibbert really didn't shine offensively or defensively until the second half of last season, but everyone can expect him to continue dominating on both ends of the court, leading the way to his first Defensive Player of the Year award.

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