The NBA handed out its first postseason award Monday, with Orlando's Dwight Howard collecting his third straight defensive player of the year honor.
When can we expect the Bulls to start gathering hardware? Derrick Rose is a lock to be a landslide MVP winner, while Tom Thibodeau is a heavy favorite for coach of the year.
Based on history, coach will come first. The NBA announced coach of the year on April 20, 22 and 29 the last three seasons. MVP became official on May 2, 4 and 6. The league likes to announce the winner one day, then hand out the trophy in front of the home crowd a day later. Keep an eye out for coach of the year before Game 5 of the Pacers series next Tuesday, assuming the Bulls don't sweep.
Three Bulls got some recognition in the defensive player of the year voting. Luol Deng finished 10th, which in theory should put him in line to get at least all-defensive second-team.
"Honestly, I don't know what to say to that," Deng said before Monday's game. "I guess it's good."
Keith Bogans and Joakim Noah finished down in the pack, but both received first-place votes, oddly enough. Deng had only second- and third-place votes. Did Thibodeau twist any arms to get Bogans a vote?
"I don't know why anyone would be surprised," Thibodeau said. "To me, if you studied the guy's career, this is who he's been. That's how he's made his mark in this league. He's a tough competitor. He's a fierce defender."
In a mass awards prediction on espn.com, former NBA coach Jack Ramsey took Bogans for defensive player of the year, so maybe that's where the vote came from. Deng, too, expressed no surprise at Bogans' recognition
"Before he came here, I always thought he was one of the best defenders," Deng said. "I just didn't like him guarding me."