NBA Draft: Best defenders of the last decade
The Best defenders of the last decade in NBA draft. It’s hard to qualify with stats. Some of the best defensive stat-hoarders can also be the worst defenders. Some of the best defenders give you absolutely no stats at all. And even a spirited attempt at chasing down your man, or helping on others, can result in a selfish, defensively crippling play. I love this game.
We’ve read up on individual defensive stats, how well a defender’s man plays against him, and how well his team does with him defensively on or off the court. And with that knowledge in hand, we rank. But we also rank based on what we’ve seen, how well these men do in a team concept, and just how well they defend even if their man does somehow spin in a 20-footer with two hands in his face.
KG stands alone because he pitches nearly as many perfect games, while combining Tim Duncan’s length and frame with a guard’s ability to move his feet. Garnett has become a bit more showy about things after getting traded to the Boston Celtics, but his time spent toiling for those awful Minnesota teams prior to that — and his years spent dominating on some solid-to-great Timberwolves teams prior to that — were the work of a defensive genius. He just guarded everyone, every play, every feint, every drive, everything. And then he’d get the rebound. Pity that nobody seemed to be paying attention.
Wallace’s on/off-court stats are still among the league’s best, the fact of the matter is that teams are still way, way better defensively with him around. I think it’s a bit of a mirage, at least these days, as he still gambles way too much on chasing down guards or running around away from the rim.
If you watch this guy, on any given possession, you’ll understand. Just take your eye off the ball and watch Battier work — the guy acts as if he’s in his own reality show, as if the cameras were on him for the entire 24-second turn, even if his man never gets the ball, while appearing deathly allergic to letting people down. Battier just does everything right. It may not mean he’ll get the rebound, block or steal — and his guy might still nail the shot — but I’ve never seen someone pitch as many perfect games defensively.