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Defense Into Offense

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deepsixersuede on Jan 25 at 7:49
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Brian, I would think that number jumps dramatically with Jrue!s ball pressure added to the mix. This is your best defense of Iggy yet, not that I needed to here it.Again the question arises, why this coach for this type of talent, go get Nolan Richardson for his 40 minutes of hell.

Really interesting analysis. I certainly think this is good evidence to show how aggressive defense and good transition (tempo, decision making) can help produce wins for this roster.
I'm curious, though, as to why you chose ten seconds. From my understanding, it's an arbitrary number, but I think it would be interesting to do a split against teams with good transitional defense or a good offensive rebounding rate. Against those teams, it would make sense that the average points/percentage would be lower and thus a less effective contribution.
Furthermore, and this is merely through observation, I noticed a trend where the sixers make a fast break play, and then their transition defense falls apart completely, resulting in an easy FG for the opposing team.
I think if DEFR is going to affect the game in a way that it helps to produce wins in a run n' gun style of offense, they also need to improve their defensive rebounding rate (currently 21st in the league at 72.6%) and transition defense.
Out of curiosity, is there a way to track an opponent DEFR against the sixers?

Unfortunately, I can't find a game log that tracks charges drawn so I think you'd have to comb through the play by play to come up with DEFR against.

You're absolutely right that they need to improve their defensive efficiency rate.

Appreciate the work you put in to crunch the numbers. You are on to something, but its challenging to quantify defense. Steals can be from good defense or gambling. Rebounds and blocks are stats biased towards bigs.

An easily available stat is opponent's PER and PER differential at 82games.com . But unfortunately it is flawed- since if you are good enough to be asked to defend the better opponents you get penalized. For example, Iverson's opponents PER at SG is slightly better than Iguodala's, probably because Iguodala is always guarding the best offensive player, AI the worst.

I would thing going one step further, and comparing your opponents PER to the average PER of those individuals (instead of the league average of 15) would yield a useful defensive stat. Probably even better if it was then adjusted for pace. But I don't see how we could find that stat anywhere. Probably 82games could compile it.

""Someone will pay him the max – or very close," one Western Conference executive said.

The sources believe that the Suns will take the best offer for Stoudemire prior to the Feb. 18 trade deadline.

The Bulls, Heat, 76ers and Nets are among several teams interested in Stoudemire, according to the report."

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sfw reply to tk76 on Jan 25 at 9:24
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Not sure I'd want him. We may already have a developing version of him on our roster(Speights). Would certainly need to have Brand or Sammy on the floor with him to pickup his missed defensive assignments.

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Court_visioN on Jan 25 at 11:09
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I'd be really interested to see what Dalembert and Brand's numbers are for this stat.

This is a very interesting analysis. Besides LeBron, I would suggest the following players for comparison (one for each position): Rondo, Wade, Gerald Wallace, Dwight Howard. None of those players play for a team that plays at a fast pace, though (and neither do LeBron and Iguodala). I'm pretty sure that an elite big man on a good fastbreaking team would lead the league in DEFR -- best example being Camby on the Iverson/Anthony Nuggets a few years ago (Camby would have done it with just blocks and rebounds). Shawn Marion for the 7-seconds-or-less Suns would have been among the leaders too. (This assumes that the rebounder is also a good outlet passer.)

As tk76 noted, it's almost unfair to compare wing players to low-post defenders in this stat, because there are fewer defensive rebounds to be had on the perimeter. Subjectively, Iguodala does a great job of grabbing his share of long defensive rebounds, but he's not going to be in position to grab a lot of the rebounds that go to Sam (for example) -- nor should he be, if he's guarding the opponent's best wing on the perimeter.

Also, as tk76 noted, steals can sometimes be the result of gambling, so a poor defender can sometimes get a lot of steals by gambling. However, I think almost all Sixer fans would agree that Iguodala gets his steals (4th in the league at present) without gambling, as his consistently good opponent PER numbers show.

Speaking of opponent PER, I've been curious for a while as to how 82games scores a play where a defender switches onto someone else in a rotation, and then his man hits an open shot because someone else didn't rotate. Thad is one of the more willing "rotaters" on the Sixers, and I think he shouldn't be penalized for plays like that (as opposed to other plays where he's just looking at the ball and forgets where his man is). The switch-and-rotate play is impossible to score defensively without watching the game.

Gerald Wallace could very well lead the league in this stat, although I'm not sure how much Charlotte attempts to push the ball up the floor, nor how often he's the one doing the pushing.

But as far as opportunities, he's got 371 defensive boards, 50 steals and 68 blocks. So 499 potential plays as compared to 359 for Iguodala.

"It's no secret that I believe Andre Iguodala is the lynch pin for the Sixers if this is the type of team they're going to build."

See, I've always thought you build your defense around a great shot-blocker, who by definition has a bigger impact on the game than great perimeter defenders, and then you build your offense around a dominant offensive player. You don't take a look at your current roster, determine that the only way it'll ever win 50 games is to play a certain style ("defensive plays being the key to scoring enough points in transition to offset the deficiencies in the half-court which would need to be overcome based on the current roster makeup"), and then say, "well what do you know, the key to our playing that style is the guy who's currently the best player on our team. Look how good he is at facilitating our playing that style! Look at how suddenly his deficiencies [half court scoring] seem less important given that we're assuming that we're going to play a style where the skills at which he's deficient matter less." That's circular reasoning. I think you should try to play a style that works, and I don't know of many teams that have ever won the whole thing without a great half-court offense. The Pistons, as always, being the one big exception.

Or you can look at your roster, and how they've performed against some of the best teams in the league when they have this style clicking on all cylinders (and they've beaten every one of the powerhouse teams over the past three seasons, some in convincing style) and think that this style may just have a shot, especially against teams who really don't like to run and want to grind everything out in the half court. That's the perspective I'm taking. If this is improved upon and emphasized, it could be successful.

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Tray reply to Brian on Jan 25 at 15:38
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I mean, Charlotte has beaten a lot of elite teams over the past couple years playing great defense and not much offense. And that approach at least has some history behind it; Larry's been to two Finals and won one. And now they have their A.I. in Jackson, the inefficient volume shooter who elevates their horrible offense to a kind of okay one. (Though Jackson's no Iverson or Hamilton.) But playing the probabilities, I still think that if they want to maximize their odds of winning, they'd be wise to try to win the way every non-Pistons team has done it, and I imagine you probably think Charlotte needs more conventional offense and not just more and more run-outs on Gerald Wallace blocked shots.

So you have this roster with at least one ideal piece to play this type of basketball, maybe two or three pieces, and they're all young. You have two options, you can either continue down this road, and really go for broke with it. Worst-case, you're making the playoffs every year and you're playing exciting basketball. Or, you can clear the decks and try to build a more traditional championship team, which essentially is going to require being horrific for a significant period of time and hoping you get extremely lucky.

There are risks associated with either approach, and the odds are long no matter which way you decide to go. Personally, I'd like to see them continue on the path they were on before Jordan was hired.

And there's a distinction you failed to make in your CHA analysis. Stephen Jackson isn't nearly the volume shooter/scorer Iverson and Hamilton were, no. But they weren't nearly the defender he is either.

Charlotte needs seriously help up front and at the point, I think (not a big fan of Felton). But those wings can really play Larry's style of ball. Could be a tough matchup for one of the top teams if they get the 6-8 seed.

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Tray reply to Brian on Jan 25 at 20:10
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"Worst-case, you're making the playoffs every year and you're playing exciting basketball."

And best case is you're another Detroit? What are the odds of that? I just think they're so low that you're better off with the rebuilding project. I can think of a lot of teams that have tried to win primarily with defense and not gone very far, whereas most of the teams that junked everything turned around. Denver did it, Cleveland did it, San Antonio deliberately did things to get Duncan, New Orleans dealt Baron Davis away the season they did poorly enough to get Chris Paul, choosing to go down the stretch led by Lee Nailon and David Wesley. Portland sent Rasheed away, got rid of Stoudamire and Bonzi, and they got Roy and Aldridge and Oden. Maybe some of those picks were mistakes, but even so that's a team that has a chance in the long run.

Most of the teams that junked everything turned it around? Really? I disagree with that statement. And I don't disagree that it would be best if they finished this season with a poor record and got John Wall. But it's worth noting that San Antonio didn't trade David Robinson away for nothing in the hope that they'd get Tim Duncan in the draft.

You know Darly Morey has some quant running these exact same numbers and it is exactly why he is so hell bent on getting Iggy in Houston.

Dear Big Ed, don't get abused by the Billy Beane of the NBA. Keep Iggy and run, fools!

I agree w/ everything positive about Iguodala written on this site for the most part. However, the other day, and I'm sorry I forget which game, or at the end of which half/quarter it was, I looked out on the floor.

The sixers had: Iverson, Williams, Iguodala, Brand, Speights on the floor.

They were holding for 1 shot. I started thinking who I watned to take the shot...and Iggy ranked LAST in my mind on the group on the floor. Maybe you all would disagree w/ me, but this, IMO, says something.

As far as taking the shot, I'd probably prefer Iguodala over Williams. The other three guys over AI9, depending on where the shot was.

And what that says about him is that he's not the team's best option for half-court offense. I don't think that's really a revelation, nor does it say anything beyond that simple statement. He's probably an average wing in the half-court, as far as scoring goes. He's within a percentage or two of average in shooting percentage on long twos and threes for all starting 2s and 3s in the league. He's above average in getting to the line and assists. Put it all together, and he's probably an average contributor in the half court. Of course everything else he does minimizes the % of possessions they spend in the half court, and increases the overall offensive efficiency (assuming they score more efficiently in transition).

The one skill Iguodala has in the half-court is that he has the ability to get a shot off. He can elevate and get a jumper to the rim in those end-of-game situations. I'm not entirely sure Brand and Iverson can do that against good defenders.

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Statman reply to Brian on Jan 25 at 14:41
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The one skill Iguodala has in the half-court is that he has the ability to get a shot off. He can elevate and get a jumper to the rim in those end-of-game situations. I'm not entirely sure Brand and Iverson can do that against good defenders.

Of course, the critics will note that Iguodala hardly ever hits the shots he gets off in end-of-game situations, which is mostly true this year and was mostly untrue last year.

I remember back in the 2000-02 time frame, when Iverson was in his prime, that the Sixers almost never got a good shot in end-of-game situations. The opposing team would put somebody taller on Iverson and then come help if AI got by his man. Rarely did Iverson get off a clean jumper in that situation. Conversely, I recall players like McGrady giving the Sixers all kinds of trouble in isolation situations. So, I remember thinking the Sixers could use a taller "go-to" guy, which is what Iguodala was last year. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, he hasn't been able to repeat it this year.

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JohnEMagee reply to Statman on Jan 25 at 14:42
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Then again, how often does anyone else hit those 'end of game' situations really...there's a perceptoin and then there's reality (next week no one will remember kobe's miss against the raptors, but they'll remember a make in milwaukee all season long)

ps, as a follow up, of course iggy got the ball and jacked up a terrible fade away that was way off.

Daryl Morey wants Iggy, so he is doing something right.

They probably have their version of this stat but MIT quality and have already figured out just how much better Iggy will make the Rockets.

Last year when the Sixers were playing well, they were playing the defend and run style. They are the Suns with defense but without jump shooters and should play as such.

Having Eddie Jordon try to implement the Princeton Offense basically threw this season away.

In the adjusted rankings on Basketball Geek, besides Gerald Wallace, LeBron, or Kirilenko (who all masquerade at the 4 at times), Iggy is the first wing defender on the list. This is interesting because the top of the list is dominated by big men with a few point guards sprinkled in. Now that brings up the 64,000 dollar question: Are big guys the most valuable defenders to have and wing guys simply role players who need to make the scorers work hard? Or are wing defenders being overlooked and is Iguodala actually better than his rankings might suggest? Should stats be weighted for guys who defend on the perimeter more, if that is possible. For my money, it's somewhere in the middle.

That list seems to be very stat-heavy, because the big guys (blocks and boards) and point guards like Rondo and Paul (steals) are high up there. The problem is that wings kind of fall in the middle and get a little of both categories but typically do not excel in others. This is probably why guys like Ben Wallace, Ersan Ilyasova, Nene, David Lee (who is a terrible defender) are all ranked at or near Iguodala when in actuality they are probably worse.

I would say that Dwight Howard is the most valuable defensive player in the league, not only because of his talent, but WHERE he plays or what he does. The fact that he made Orlando a top-five defensive team with really no great and some terrible (Hedo) defenders is amazing. The problem with the idea of just making a guy work for his points is that he still gets them. So Howard, who effects big guys and perimeter guys driving into the lane, has more a higher ceiling to effect the game than Iguodala, who typically can play one guy, although he often shuts a guy down instead of just making him work for his points. It would be interesting to see what would happen with a coach who had better defensive principles and didn't help and rotate so much. That's another reason Wallace is so high up there, although those rankings do need to be taken with a grain of salt.

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JohnEMagee reply to Rich on Jan 25 at 12:47
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David Lee (who is a terrible defender) are all ranked at or near Iguodala when in actuality they are probably worse.

You know, I was watching the Knicks Mavs 'game' yesterday and for all the David Lee praise I was just watching Drew Gooden abuse on him when Lee tried to defend him. How much of a 'star' can a guy be if he can't defend Drew Gooden?

As for 'stat heavy' defensive analysis, sadly that's what is available right now, defensive analysis right now I believe is the weakest 'public domain' anlysis sector, sure synergy might have all the video you need and such to analyze defense, but it's not avalable to most of us :)

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Statman reply to Rich on Jan 25 at 14:29
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That list seems to be very stat-heavy, because the big guys (blocks and boards) and point guards like Rondo and Paul (steals) are high up there. The problem is that wings kind of fall in the middle and get a little of both categories but typically do not excel in others. This is probably why guys like Ben Wallace, Ersan Ilyasova, Nene, David Lee (who is a terrible defender) are all ranked at or near Iguodala when in actuality they are probably worse.

Interestingly, when I was looking through overall opponent PERs on 82games.com last year, the league leaders were all SFs and SGs (LeBron, Artest, Battier, Iguodala, Kirilenko were all in there, as well as players you wouldn't expect like Ray Allen, Eddie House, and Szczerbiak). The thing is, there are a lot of "catch-and-shoot" SFs and SGs who score poorly in PER, because they typically don't get the rebounds of big men or the assists of PGs. Thus, it's easier to achieve a good opponent PER for SFs and SGs. (This can be verified by looking at the ESPN leaders in PER by position. Note that Centers, PFs, and PGs have the highest average PERs for the top 20.)

My guess, though I'm not sure with a cursory reading, is that the list on Basketball Geeks was normalized by position. In that case, since all SFs and SGs have decent opponent PER ratings, it's harder for good ones to stand out. Whereas it's easier for Centers, PFs, and PGs to stand out. Normalizing by position is something that Hollinger should do with his PER stats, to remove any inherent bias in the statistic itself. (Personally, I think PER weights rebounds too heavily, which is why a lot of Centers have good PERs.)


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Rich reply to Statman on Jan 25 at 15:07
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That makes what he's doing even more impressive because you know that he will get the best guy on the perimeter. Or, in the case of a team like the Celtics, he'll draw one of the two big guns (usually Allen I think) and Pierce will kill us.

There are guys on that list that also have inflated opponents PER's who either a. Don't guard the opponent's best guy like House, A. Johnson, Wally, Roy, Wade, Kirilenko (when it's a 2 they like to switch him and Brewer), Hamilton) or b. Guys who play with good back lines and a good defensive system like Pierce, Allen, Wally, LeBron to an extent, House, Melo, etc.

You could definitely argue that he didn't have a good back line last year and a bad system this year. My question is: Does it hurt him when he has to help and his guy hits a wide open shot that really isn't his fault? I think that would kill that number more than anyone this year.

actually with regards to playing that way, you also need a shot blocking machine like Sammy. just as vital as whatever iguodala brings. how many off their fastbreaks have come off of defensive rebounds from blocked shots?

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JohnEMagee reply to jkay on Jan 25 at 12:53
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Not a stat that's tracked that I've ever found, but I've always wanted blocks broken down by 'change of possession' blocks versus same team controls blocks :)

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Rich reply to JohnEMagee on Jan 25 at 12:59
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That would lower Dwight Howard down a lot. It's great that he can swat it into the third row, but his shot-blocking could be way more effective. Congrats Dwight, you just gave the other team the ball back.

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JohnEMagee reply to Rich on Jan 25 at 13:02
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Well the argument could be made that the shot clock is down more and they have to re-initiate their offense - I'm not saying one is better than the other, - i've always just wonder - if a block is legal - why not jump up with two hands and catch it and then force the change of possession or is it a different kind of jump?

I've always just been curios if some shot blockers were better at 'directional blocking' to a player than others.

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JohnEMagee reply to Rich on Jan 25 at 13:03
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Well the argument could be made that the shot clock is down more and they have to re-initiate their offense - I'm not saying one is better than the other, - i've always just wonder - if a block is legal - why not jump up with two hands and catch it and then force the change of possession or is it a different kind of jump?

I've always just been curios if some shot blockers were better at 'directional blocking' to a player than others.

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Rich reply to JohnEMagee on Jan 25 at 13:23
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Definitely, but wouldn't a block to a teammate or a catch almost be like a steal? That has to be more valuable, it's the same as a turnover. No doubt that swatting one into the 4th row is effective because at the very least it still resets your defense with less time left on the shot-clock. I think that players usually are not able to size up a shot where they can catch it and are focused on just getting a piece of it. I guess the problem with directional blocking would be hitting it into the opposing team's hands for an easy bucket while the defense is sort of in chaos. That's probably why players try to hit it out of bounds, but I totally agree that a guy like Howard could just catch it with two hands sometimes.

I guess the problem with directional blocking would be hitting it into the opposing team's hands for an easy bucket while the defense is sort of in chaos. That's probably why players try to hit it out of bounds

I think they swatted it out of bounds to get the crowd to ooh and ahh.

I agree with Rich. A dominant inside defender has the biggest overall impact.

Second I would place an elite defensive PG, since they can single handedly disrupt the flow of PG dependent teams.

This is not to diminish Iguodala's defensive impact. If the opposition is reliant on a wing player Iguodala's defense can really impact the game. But overall, an elite defensive big or PG has more of an impact IMO.

BTW, someone with size and quickness like Dwight or Shaq(in his prime) have more of an impact than guys like Sam or Camby.

Dominant bigs have more of an impact on defense in general, but I'm not sure they really impact the running game as much as a guy like Iguodala. With a guy like Dwight Howard, the blocked shots need to be collected and then the ball has to get to a guard who's going to push the pace. Same thing with his defensive rebounds. Iguodala takes the middle man out of the equation when he grabs the rebound himself and pushes the ball up the floor using his dribble.

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Jesse reply to Brian on Jan 25 at 13:44
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Anecdotally, the break is even more effective when he outlets it. The problem is a lot of times Iguodala has to lead the break because no one is running ahead. This has more to do with the overall philosophy of the team, though. Does Eddie Jordan emphasize getting out on the break after defensive rebounds, i.e. the guards streaking as soon as the board is collected? Maybe, but not enough IMO.

Thad's usually the quickest guy out on the break (possibly because he doesn't really concern himself with grabbing defensive boards, if you're a pessimist. Because he's always faster than his man, if you're an optimist).

For some reason, when Lou gets the ball he almost always slows things down. Jrue is really, really good at this, he gets the ball up the court quickly, then slows his dribble near the three-point line and lets the wings cut to the hoop while drawing the defender up from the hoop. If they don't come up to stop the ball, he'll penetrate further. He has really good instincts.

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Rich reply to Brian on Jan 25 at 14:17
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Iguodala is also equally adept on the fast break in any position. He can be, and usually is, the one to push it up the floor, draw someone, and dish it. Now let's say a couple more guys like Jrue (who will very shortly if he hasn't already) learn to master being the point man on the fast break. Then Iguodala gets to show off his athleticism more instead of being a playmaker for others. This might have been Andre Miller's best skill, except he also had the element of craftily scoring himself from running the break. Iguodala has flashes of that, but he's not as consistent and maybe he's a little more unselfish to a fault than Miller. That's where a few of his TO's come from.

Lou is a terrible fast break player solely on his decision making. With that athleticism, he should at least be average, but his decision making is awful. If I see another 3 on 1 where he doesn't pass and runs over a guy for a charge...

Would we also say that what makes Iguodala's game very friendly to the running game is his ability to get rebounds, steals, blocks, and create turnovers. Two of the recently most heralded purely wing defenders are Bruce Bowen and Shane Battier. They always from a fan's standpoint to be guys who will stay in front of a scorer and make him take a tough shot. They will not block you. They will not strip you. They will not rebound their guy's miss. They will usually not force the guy to turn it over. They will do their best to make sure your team doesn't over-help on a lethal wing scorer by forcing him into tough spots, but that's it. Iguodala isn't like that, he actually creates offense from defense, as we all know and see in this particular post. This is why I feel he should be treated differently than these guys, because his defense creates different opportunities for your team.

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JohnEMagee reply to Rich on Jan 25 at 13:43
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Not to mention that Iguodala can RUN the break - if he gets a steal he doesn't have to find someone per se to pass the ball to - he can run the break by himself and find the open team mate for the basket.

OK, so Gerald Wallace is a definite. I'll do two players, who else would you guys like to see? Rondo? Dwight Howard? Anyone else come to mind?

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Jesse reply to Brian on Jan 25 at 14:31
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Any chance you could do the other Sixers?

Not sure where Brand is right now defensively. Still has good shot blocking instincts, but where oh where has his defensive rebounding gone?

Biggest mystery of the season for me.

I'll do two more Sixers, Sam and Brand I guess, unless you guys would rather see someone else on the Sixers (Kapono has a total of 31 opportunities :)

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Statman reply to Brian on Jan 25 at 14:53
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For this year, after GWallace, I'd like to see (1) LeBron, (2) Rondo, (3) Dwight Howard. So that's my vote.

In recent history (since play-by-play became available), 05-06 Marion and 07-08 Camby would no doubt be among the top 5 DEFR seasons (both were the premier defenders on top offensive teams, and both accumulated ridiculously good stats for def-rebs, steals, and blocks).

I definitely agree that Iguodala and other good defensive wing players are great at turning defense into offense. Bigs rarely do this (but I have great memories of Barkley taking it the length of the floor.) I just feel that in terms of overall defensive value, and dominant big is the most valuable. At their best they deter all drives and teams end up settling for jumpers.

I remember whenever the Sixers during AI's prime would play Detroit it was one of the few games where AI could not get anything going in the lane. Closing down the paint completely took the Sixers out of their game. Sam plus another top interior defender (theoretically, when they signed him, Brand) could bring the same thing to the defense.

Not sure where Brand is right now defensively. Still has good shot blocking instincts, but where oh where has his defensive rebounding gone?


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