How do you quantify good individual defense? Well, you can’t.
But some of LeBron’s defensive numbers have declined this year – steals, blocks, defensive rating and what have you – but that only means his steals, blocks and DRtg have declined – it doesn’t also mean he wasn’t playing great defense, because he was.
So let’s set aside his defensive statistics for a moment. Not only is LeBron a guy who will switch from PG to SG to SF to PF to C in the same game, but he’s also Miami’s designated stopper in the clutch (and a great one), and he is also the quarterback of the Heat’s defense. He’s a defensive coach on the floor.
There isn’t anyone else in the league who is doing all of this on defense – and James excels at it.
So how is this mastermind defensive player not named as one of the 5 best defenders in the NBA? It’s absurd that anyone thinks he isn’t.
In any case, here are my selections for the All-Defensive First Team:
- Chris Paul
- Tony Allen
- LeBron James
- Serge Ibaka
- Joakim Noah
That would be an impenetrable defense.
Paul George? He is not a better perimeter defender than Tony Allen, and certainly not anywhere as dogged as the Grindfather. I’d have PG on the 2nd team (but if someone wants him on the 1st team, then that’s fine with me).
What does this mean for the Spurs in the Finals? LeBron just found extra motivation.