Howard received 27 votes for first team and two for second team on the 29 ballots. He was the only player name on all 29 possible ballots.
Boston guard Rajon Rondo and Miami forward LeBron James completed the first team.
Second-team selections were: Memphis guard Tony Allen, New Orleans guard Chris Paul, Dallas center Tyson Chandler, Philadelphia forward Andre Iguodala and Chicago forward Joakim Noah.
The NBA All-Defense Team is determined by a vote of the league's 30 head coaches. Coaches cannot, however, vote for a player on their own team. Players were given two points for a first-team mention and one point for a second-team vote.