According to Fox sports, Dwight Howard and Lebron James are NOT good defenders

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View Poll Results: Are Lebron and Dwight good defenders?
Obviously 10 52.63%
They're Okay 8 42.11%
They're below average 1 5.26%
They're awful! 0 0%
Voters: 19. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-14-2009, 05:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Angry According to Fox sports, Dwight Howard and Lebron James are NOT good defenders

These guys put some D in the NBA - NBA News - FOX Sports on MSN


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Several readers have complained that virtually every player I mention is a poor defender, which certainly isn't my fault.

It should be noted, however, that in order to survive in the NBA, even the most prolific scorer must be able to play a modicum of defense. Indeed, if everybody played inferior defense, teams would average 150 points per game.

Conversely, numerous other readers the most recent being Stephen Feetham from Columbia, S.C. have asked me to compile a list of the players who, in my opinion, actually can and do play outstanding defense.

So it's my distinct pleasure to first turn the spotlight on the NBA's most diligent man-to-man defenders.

Ron Artest has lost a step laterally but can still bang with anybody and has great hands around the ball. If his team defense leaves much to be desired, the refs let him grab and hold and thereby distinguish himself as a genuine stopper.

Trevor Ariza is a pickpocket defender who relies strictly on quickness and anticipation.

Shane Battier plays outstanding position defense and excellent team defense. Additionally, Battier is Houston's traffic cop on the defensive end the best one, in fact, since the halcyon days of Scottie Pippen.

Raja Bell's belligerent, persistent hounding can be counted on to frustrate everybody he guards.

Keith Bogans never backs down and has worked hard to become a significant defender.

Ryan Bowen's defense is the only part of his game that keeps him in the league.

DeSagana Diop can't shoot to save his life, but if he were allowed to commit 10 fouls per game without being disqualified, he'd be the best defensive center in the league.

Jeff Foster rarely makes mistakes on defense.


Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins make it tough for Celtics opponents to score inside. (Jesse D. Garrabrant / Getty Images)

Kevin Garnett plays defense with more energy than any of his peers. Plus, his length and quickness offer so much help to his teammates that it often seems as though the Celtics have six defenders on the court.

Udonis Haslem has the length, quickness, skills and desire to at least control even the most dynamic scorers he faces. And Haslem does all the Heat's behind-the-scenes dirty work on defense.

Chuck Hayes makes up for his lack of size 6-foot-6, 242 pounds with his incredible physicality and rough-and-ready, post-up defense is his specialty.

Royal Ivey can stay in front of even the quickest point guards and also stay in touch with shooting guards.

Richard Jefferson is branded by his peers as just another stuck-up player from Arizona, but when he puts his nose to the grindstone, he's a down-and-almost-dirty defender.

Dahntay Jones was only interested in scoring when he played in Memphis. But his game plan has evolved to the point where he now plays adhesive defense with a chip stuck to his shoulder.

Andrei Kirilenko can easily be out-muscled, but his extraordinary length and quickness can also shut down scorers who mostly rely on finesse. In addition, even the league's most muscular scorers always dread going up against AK-47.

Eduardo Najera is an extremely physical defender, but only when all of his body parts are fully functional.

Anthony Parker is a solid, if unspectacular, player on the uphill end of the court.

Kendrick Perkins is rapidly becoming a space-eating, body-bumping defensive force in the shadow of the basket.

Mickael Pietrus has the kind of tensile strength, excellent reactions and sheer willfulness to make his opponents have to labor mightily just to launch a decent shot.

James Posey is sufficiently talented and mean-spirited to be able to put anybody's offense in an escape-proof cage.


Delonte West isn't big, but he sure is scrappy. (Gregory Shamus / Getty Images)

Tayshaun Prince's wingspan enables him to cover more ground on defense then a pair of normal-sized players.

Joel Przybilla knows all the tricks and the leverage points while also having the power and athleticism to bother even the league's dreadnaught centers.

Brian Skinner plays full-contact defense and plays it well.

Kurt Thomas still has enough junk left in his trunk to be an outstanding post-up defender.

Dwyane Wade must necessarily assume such a dominant role in the Heat's offense that the mighty effort he expends on defense is laudatory. Indeed, he has the potential to become the best and most consistent two-way player since the glory days of Michael Jordan.

Gerald Wallace is the rare NBA performer who always plays all-out on both offense and defense.

Rasheed Wallace can still force opponents to be continually aware of his presence whenever they're looking to score in his neighborhood.

Delonte West is perhaps the most nasty-minded defender in the league. And that's a compliment of huge proportions.

While I'm on the subject of defense, the following players are not very good straight-up defenders but do provide excellent weak-side defensive help: Chris Andersen, Marcus Camby, Tim Duncan, Josh Smith, Samuel Dalembert, Amare Stoudemire, Chris Kaman, Anderson Varejao and Yao Ming.

Also, these guys are capable of playing top-notch defense but do so only periodically: Kobe Bryant, Baron Davis and Chris Paul.

And finally ...

Yes, yes, I realize that Dwight Howard and LeBron James were the top vote-getters in the balloting for last season's Defensive Player of the Year. But I beg to differ with this result, and here's why:

If you have a question or comment for Charley Rosen, submit it below and Charley may just respond. Subject:
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Dwight Howard does block shots, but in his eagerness to do so, smart teams (like the Lakers) can run their offense in such a way that he's lured out of shot-blocking position. Plus, opposing centers who are able to face up and go can usually find a driveable lane. I seem to recall that Pau Gasol ate Howard's lunch in June. Why, then, was Howard selected as the NBA's best defender? For the same reason that Larry Hughes was named to the First All-Defensive team in 2005. Numbers.

In truth, even though Hughes led the league in steals that season (2.89 per game), he was strictly a reckless, feckless gambler and lost more gambles than he won. By the same token, Howard's leading the NBA in blocks is by no means indicative of his true defensive value.

As an example of how misleading blocked shots stats really are, I always cite Dave DeBusschere, who by my lights was the best defensive power forward ever. DeBusschere was still at the top of his game when he retired after the 1973-74 season, during which he averaged 18.1 points per game (second-best mark of his career). That season also marked the first time that blocked shots became an official statistic, and he was only credited with 0.55 swats per game. So while Howard is proficient at one aspect of defense, he has a long way to go in other areas.

LeBron James has made it a practice of dramatically chasing down and blocking opponents' breakaway layup attempts. And he's also big and strong enough to occupy a large, forbidding space in front of some opponents. Still, his balance is slightly off-kilter, so he can be turned by opponents who have super-duper fakes and extra-quick first steps. Moreover, LBJ is simply too big to successfully navigate his way through or around high screen-and-rolls. It should be noted, though, that he's certainly paying more attention to playing defense than he ever has, and his improvement is significant.
Anthony Parker is on the list of good defenders. His arguments are solid except for D12 and LBJ being bad defenders. Lebron isn't too big to do it. his argument for Dwight is awful!
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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How can the reigning definsive player of the year NOT be a good defender?
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:59 PM   #3 (permalink)
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How can the reigning definsive player of the year NOT be a good defender?
Because the author is clearly bias. He doesn't like Lebron and Dwight so in his eyes they are inferior. Oh and Fox has been saying controversial things for a long time. The goodm defenders list is solid though.
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Lebron is a lock-down defender. I can remember him getting exposed in a couple high screen and rolls during the playoffs, but he's nowhere near enough of a liability in those scenarios to warrant the "poor defender" tag. Having said that he's quick and strong enough to recover to his man anyway.

It's not like he's letting any tigers out of the bag here with regards to Dwight though - anyone with any knowledge of team defense has known that Dwight consistently exposes the paint when going for his signature flamboyant swats.
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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i think both are immensely overrated defensively, especially dwight, but neither are 'not good'.

regardless, i've always thought that the DPOY award and all-defensive teams have been a joke. players like ben wallace, dwight, kg should have never won it. they're good defenders, but not the elite that they're made out to be.

what i'll never understand is how high rebounds and blocked shots are taken into consideration when they're handing out these awards. sure, they're a big part of defence, but they don't mean great defence. look at players like kirilenko, gerald wallace and josh smith, all of them have outstanding defence numbers, yet i'd never feel comfortable with any of them defensively.
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Jackson Filth View Post
i think both are immensely overrated defensively, especially dwight, but neither are 'not good'.
.... look at players like kirilenko, gerald wallace and josh smith, all of them have outstanding defence numbers, yet i'd never feel comfortable with any of them defensively.
"Immensely" is a very strong word. They are both very good defenders - top 10, sure one can argue if they are part of that group or not. Lebron leads SF (along with Wallace) in steals - the ultimate defensive play as not only do you change the possession but most often you get a (relatively) easy hoop at the other end. (Blocks are incredibly overrated as you point out - very much agree there - they most often don't change possession).

Not feeling comfortable with Gerald Wallace is a bit puzzling. He is an outstanding defender - where do you see the weaknesses? I'd personally take him over 97% of the SF on D.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:14 PM   #7 (permalink)
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"Immensely" is a very strong word. They are both very good defenders - top 10, sure one can argue if they are part of that group or not. Lebron leads SF (along with Wallace) in steals - the ultimate defensive play as not only do you change the possession but most often you get a (relatively) easy hoop at the other end. (Blocks are incredibly overrated as you point out - very much agree there - they most often don't change possession).
Weak side block attempts tend to sacrifice defensive position because the shot blocker is making an extra rotation and leaving his man open to attempt to change the shot. This is when you see dishes made for easy buckets.

Attempts at steals in the passing lanes also sacrifice defensive position, albeit from the perimeter and not right under the basket. Backdoor cuts are borne from guys overplaying for the passing lane steal and backdoor cuts are easily one of the quickest ways to get buckets in basketball. Steals are also grossly overrated as a defensive stat.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:28 PM   #8 (permalink)
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i think both are immensely overrated defensively, especially dwight, but neither are 'not good'.
I concur. Dwight is a good post defender and shot blocker, but not much else. I've also always thought that Lebron was very overrated in his two weakest areas, defending and jump shooting.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:39 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I somewhat agree, it's not only about stats. What makes special players are the intangibles. Hustling while playing defense is what got some of these people on the defense list.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:25 PM   #10 (permalink)
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they are okay
both are overrated
Howard does a lot of goaltending
so
1/4 are goaltending
1/6 are block
1/3 are fouls
the rest is going in the basket
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:50 PM   #11 (permalink)
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He would have been better to say overrated, but I liked his points.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:51 PM   #12 (permalink)
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These guys put some D in the NBA - NBA News - FOX Sports on MSN




Anthony Parker is on the list of good defenders. His arguments are solid except for D12 and LBJ being bad defenders. Lebron isn't too big to do it. his argument for Dwight is awful!
Both made all-defense team one so Fox is fucked. Not that this wasn't clear before this article.
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Old 08-15-2009, 12:52 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Dwight is NOT just a shotblocker like Marcus Camby and the Birdman. His positional defence and timing is among the best in the league, making him a top 3 help defender along with KG and Duncan. As far as I'm concerned those 3 are in a class of their own for defensive impact in the league.

And he has the results - Orlando was the #1 defense in the league last year and very few of his teammates are significantly known for their d
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:46 AM   #14 (permalink)
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statwise the guys are good defenders in that D12 gets a lot of rebounds and blocks and lebron gets a lot of steals and blocks for his position and size

but in reality they both aren't that good defensively, D12 is better in that he is quick for his size and can defend most in his position because he is quick and has the strength, but when it comes to being defensively smart, his positioning isn't very good and he gets into foul trouble very often

lebron is just terrible defensively, sure he gets a lot of blocks from the weak side, but when it comes to defending, he gets blown by on a regular basis and he can't defend his own man at all
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Old 08-15-2009, 12:35 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Both made all-defense team one so Fox is fucked. Not that this wasn't clear before this article.
I completely agree.
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Old 08-15-2009, 01:26 PM   #16 (permalink)
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lol
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