NBA Roundtable

Bobcats Top Defensive Combination

In General NBA on October 24, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Good article in the Charlotte Observer about the Bobcats defensive attributes

The overtime against New Orleans revealed the possibilities – just how good the Charlotte Bobcats defense could be with all those long arms and quick feet.

The Bobcats closed out the Hornets by holding them to 2-of-8 shooting, forcing two turnovers and outrebounding New Orleans 7-1.

The group on the floor – Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Tyrus Thomas and Boris Diaw (plus either D.J. Augustin or Matt Carroll) – constantly switched defensively, cutting off driving and passing lanes. Those four guys are all roughly the same size and virtually interchangeable.

That’s the unit most likely to finish games and the one coach Larry Brown prefers to play, so long as Diaw and Thomas can match up with opposing big men.

“We have that length, and they can all move their feet,” said Brown. “So many teams in our league basically play zone principles and switch a lot. I only want them to switch if they can take something away or get back to their own man.”

The article continues

This started with the acquisition of Jackson early last season. That gave the Bobcats two long, athletic wings and was a factor in their unlikely success against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Wallace and Jackson could share responsibility for limiting LeBron James, which meant they didn’t need so much help from other players.

Then Thomas was added at the trade deadline. He’s the longest of the four and the best shot-blocker, but he moves like a small forward. Diaw isn’t as quick as the other three, but he’s efficient enough defensively to guard all over the court.

The Bobcats combination of Stephen Jackson, Gerald Wallace, Tyrus Thomas and Boris Diaw will combine to make one of the most effective defensive lineups this season.

The defensive quality of these players will create the backbone (long athletic wings, mobile bigs) to the Bobcats defense this season. And in doing so, should help keep Charlotte in the playoff picture in the East (7th or 8th seed).

Top Defensive Teams

A preliminary list and ranking of the top defensive teams entering this season

  1. Boston Celtics
  2. Los Angeles Lakers
  3. Orlando Magic
  4. Chicago Bulls
  5. Miami Heat
  6. Portland Trailblazers (lot of potential to move up)
  7. Charlotte Bobcats
  8. Milwaukee Bucks
  9. Oklahoma City Thunder
  10. Dallas Mavericks
  11. San Antonio Spurs
  12. Denver Nuggets (K-Mart’s health?)
  13. Atlanta Hawks (room for improvement)

Houston should be on this too but they are a wild card. We’ll have to wait and see how effective Yao Ming is defensively.

Edit: I felt bad about two teams rankings, Dallas and Miami, when writing these rankings. I am going to make a change and swap Miami (#7) and Charlotte (#5) around. I didn’t give enough credit to Miami’s big men relative to Charlotte’s bigs the first time around. I do feel like Dallas should be higher than #10 but I am having trouble putting them ahead of anyone currently above them in the list.

  • OKC could fall if Cole Aldrich doesn’t take over the starting spot from Nenad Krstic. I like Aldrich’s and Ibaka’s interior defense for OKC + I think they have an excellent perimeter defense.
  • A bit disappointed in Dallas’ decision to move Shawn Marion to the bench also. He did an incredible job against the top scorers on the wing last season. Arguably the finest job in the league. With Dallas new rotation, it looks like he’ll be spending less time on those players.
  • Milwaukee’s high placement is dependent on Andrew Bogut’s health holding up.
  1. I think Dallas should be ranked a little higher. A combination of Kidd, Butler, Marion, Dirk, Haywood is very strong defensively. I know they are older, but I feel like this group is Top 6, especially now that they have a stud defensive center in at all times (haywood/chandler)

  2. Dino Gunners,

    Yeah, I felt bad about Dallas. I thought they should be higher (6-8th range was where I expected to place them before writing the rankings) but I was looking at my list and I wasn’t willing to drop anyone below them.

    I like their defensive strength in the middle with Tyson and Haywood in the paint and Marion on the wings. Kidd, I like his team defense and man-to-man defense at the two but not at the one. Beaubois is a good defender at the point too. Dirk is a liability. Dirk and Kidd are a liability in the pick and roll together. Never liked Butler’s defense. Terry is serviceable at the point.

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