Identifying the best defensive players at every position in the NBA.
In my piece about the best offensive players in the NBA at each position, I said that it was the offense that glues eyes to screens and gets people into seats because the offense is where the highlight plays generally occur.
While this is true, the saying “defense wins championships” is also highly accurate.
The only time defense gets you in the highlight reels is when you get an impressive block. The rest of the time it usually goes unnoticed by fans, and that’s why it’s so beautiful. Doing something that helps your team succeed but doesn’t get you instant recognition is the hallmark of a successful player/team.
Playing good defense requires you to be rough and rugged, to sacrifice your body, and not be afraid to get hurt in the process. This is why “defense wins championships” is true, not because of the defensive part, but because of the hard work that is required to play good defense, and hard work beats talent where talent fails to work hard.
As with my offensive players list, I am using Basketball Reference’s Play-by-Play stats to determine which position players have played the most in this season, and now, here’s my lineup.