My Radio

My attempts to channel what's playing on the many stations of my mind

No Country For Defense?

Posted by and1grad on August 31, 2011

Yesterday, some of the NBA’s best players put on a exhibition game in Baltimore. ESPN lays out the details here. The final score of the game wound up being 149-141. When I see a score like that, the only thing I wonder is…where was the defense? The ESPN article had this quick line:

“The game was every bit like an NBA All-Star Game in that it featured big-name players wearing generic uniforms and showing very little effort on the defensive end.”


Cant say I’m sorry to have missed that. Also cant say I agree that NBA All Star Games offer very little defense. Things get serious as the game gets closer & closer to the end. That said…maybe thats what happened in this game. But it made me wonder, is there NO glamour on the defensive end of basketball? There should be. Blocks & steals are pretty exciting plays to me…or they lead to exciting plays. Blocks moreso, of course. Blocks of dunks/layups & people getting dunked on, IMO, are the most exciting plays in the game. And when I say “getting dunked on,” I dont mean the watered down way it seems to be defined on ESPN now…where if you’re close to someone & jump, you got dunked on. Naw. I mean you’re IN BETWEEN a man & the basket and he dunks ON you.


Thinking about this also made me realize, I dont really even know who the best defenders are. Is going by stats the best way to quantify that? I’m tempted to say no since going by stats is rarely the best way to quantify anything but they’re always useful.

Top 10 Blocks Per Game Leaders                              Top 10 Steals Per Game Leaders
1.  Andrew Bogut (2.58)                                                1.  Chris Paul (2.35)
2.  JaVale McGee (2.44)                                                2.  Rajon Rondo (2.25)
3.  Serge Ibaka (2.41)                                                     3.  Monta Ellis (2.10)
4.  Dwight Howard (2.38)                                             4.  Russell Westbrook (1.89)
5.  Darko Milicic (2.03)                                                 5.  Tony Allen (1.79)
6.  Andrew Bynum (1.96)                                             6.  Mike Conley (1.78)
7.  Amare Stoudemire (1.92)                                      7.  Jason Kidd (1.68)
8.  Tim Duncan (1.92)                                                    8.  Raymond Felton (1.67)
9.  Al Jefferson (1.87)                                                    9.  Trevor Ariza (1.60)
10. DeAndre Jordan (1.78)                                      10. Lebron James (1.57)


Looking at these lists, I’d say the top steals guys look a little more indicative of who I think are elite defenders in the league. I’m admittedly biased in that since I think a lot of shot blocking is as a result of team defense, whereas steals are usually individual effort. That said, on the defensive end, nothing motivates your team like blocking a shot. Its an impact play. While looking through these stats, I noticed the list of the top 25 blocks per game, the only players that werent power forwards or centers were Wilson Chandler, SF (1.31) & Dwyane Wade, SG (1.14). And of the top 25 steals per game, the only power forwards or centers were Dwight Howard (1.37), Paul Milsap (1.36), Kevin Garnett (1.34), & Josh Smith (1.29).

There were only 3 players that were Top 25 in both lists:  Dwight Howard (2.38 b, 1,37s), Dwyane Wade (1.14b, 1.46s), and Josh Smith (1.56b, 1.29s). Do you think its pretty safe to say that these guys may be the best defenders in the league? I do.

Who do you think are the best defenders in the game and why?


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