As we all know, defense wins championships. But which team is equipped to best take advantage of this advantage? Obviously there’s more to winning a championship than one side of the ball but let’s break down the top 5 defenses in the Western Conference.
#5 Los Angeles Lakers- The LakeShow acquired the baddest man in the NBA, Jared Dudley. Also, LeBron James has been hearing the haters. “He’s washed” “He doesn’t play defense”, and he’s been sitting on those comments ALL OFF-SEASON. LeBron is actually still a top defender in the league and anyone who says otherwise will have to eat their words. The addition of The Brow, perhaps the most formidable interior presence behind Rudy Gobert, will make this Lakers team hard to score on in the paint. Flanked by sharpshooting wings Danny Green and Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers will be a gritty team when it’s not showtime. The Lakers also have Boogie Cousins down low and Rondo up at point, it will not be easy to score on these guys.
#4 Houston Rockets- The James harden doesn’t defend” narrative is old. he brings size and impeccable footwork to both sides of the floor and was second in steals last year. Former and now current teammate Russel Westbrook was also top 5 in the steals category and it’s no secret what he brings to the floor. Alongside defensive problem Eric Gordon and interior presence Clint Capela, the rockets have a very formidable front.
#3 The JV squad in Los Angeles, the Clippers- We all know they landed the marquee free agent in The Klaw. 2 time DPOY 5X All Defense. And somehow that slippery snake managed to convince the Clippers, Paul George, and subsequently OKC to pull to trigger on a trade that would pair him with a a 4 time All Defense and defending steals champ. Don’t forget they now have the prolific Ivan Zubac at center. These additions alongside known Dog Patrick Beverly and bench beast Montrezl Herrell figure to wreak havoc under the mastermind that is Doc Rivers.
#2. Utah Jazz- Off the bat they have 2 time DPOY and 3X all defensive team Rudy Gobert, he speaks for himself. Followed by Joe Ingles and if you’ve watched the NBA for a couple years you might recall him shutting down MVP finalist Paul George in the playoffs. Then obviously the electric Donovan “Spida” Mitchell, who can do all things. But what makes this team so special is the addition of Mike Conley. MAC11 brings that “Grind City” mentality to the locker room and is, in my opinion, the top court general in the league. The point guard sets the tone for his team and Mike will do exactly that by enforcing his clamps on opposing point guards.
#1. New Orleans Pelicans- This team is teeming with youth, length, and athleticism. One of the only familiar faces for this squad will no undoubtedly be the rock and set the tone. Jrue Holiday is an established clamper, having two all-defensive selections under his belt, it is already clear what ha brings to the table. The ability to lock down both one and two guards makes his a dynamic problem. Another dynamic problem is a big baller. Lonzo Ball, like Jrue Hoiday, is a point guard that can easily defend any back court opponent. his length and athleticism actually put him in a category with some of the best defenders in the league. While he has a all-rookie defense selection, look for him to make the jump to an all-NBA defense team in the coming years. Another young gun from Los Angeles by the name of slender man brings problems on defense. Brandon Ingram, after Zo, is a wings worst nightmare. Standing at 6’9″ with a SEVEN THREE wingspan, Ingram takes advantage of these gifts. He has consistently given elite scores, most notably, Kevin Durant, many problems and is a certified pest. An addition from the draft, Jaxson Hayes, will be an inside presence as he’s still growing and can jump through the roof. They also got some kid named Zion Williamson, I think he’s a problem, we’l leave it at that.