D-Wade, CP3, Joakim Noah headline Dime’s Midseason All-Defensive Teams

01.29.10 8 years ago 40 Comments

Dwyane Wade (Photo. Jeffery Salter)

Late last night I was watching Rick Pitino weekly Louisville coach’s show — one of my favorite things about having 264 sports channels — when Pitino made a great point about defensive mentality.

Essentially, Pitino said, there are guys who get upset when they miss a shot, but aren’t nearly as bothered when they get beaten off the dribble. “We’re not going to be a good team until it bothers us more to get beat defensively than it bothers us to miss a shot,” he said.

If you ask me, that pretty much sums up what makes a great defender on any level of basketball.

Always a defense-first guy myself — I grew up admiring Big John Thompson‘s Georgetown squads, Detroit’s Bad Boys, Gary Payton, Jason Terry, Reggie Geary, Greedy Daniels, Scottie Pippen, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Muggsy Bogues — I figured since everybody has been talking NBA All-Star picks this week, the players making their mark on defense deserve some shine. Here are my ’09-10 midseason All-Defensive teams, West and East:

WEST
G – Chris Paul
G – Ronnie Brewer
F – Shawn Marion
F – Kenyon Martin
C – Marcus Camby
Bench
G – Thabo Sefolosha
G – Kobe Bryant
G – Shane Battier
F – Martell Webster
F – Ron Artest
F/C – Tim Duncan
C – Emeka Okafor

EAST
G – Dwyane Wade
G – Andre Iguodala
F – Gerald Wallace
F – Josh Smith
C – Joakim Noah
Bench
G – Kirk Hinrich
G – Rajon Rondo
G – Stephen Jackson
F – Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
F – LeBron James
F/C – Kevin Garnett
C – Dwight Howard

* Why isn’t the reigning Defensive Player of the Year — and likely front-runner for this year’s award — starting on this squad? Because as spectacular as Dwight (13.2 rpg, 2.6 bpg) is defending the rim, Noah (12.1 rpg, 1.7 bpg) has actually been better defending the paint and stopping opposing centers one-on-one. Noah is also better at staying out of foul trouble and conserving his fouls for the fourth quarter.

* Rondo and CP will get criticized by the “Just because you get a lot of steals doesn’t mean you’re a good defender” crowd, and true, I have seen Rondo on the receiving end of some severe buckets lately; most notably from Derrick Rose and Jamal Crawford. But look at it from a football standpoint: Defensive backs who gamble for interceptions may not be the best man-to-man defenders, but those one or two picks are game-changers. Rondo and CP can win ballgames and change momentum with their quick hands and ability to play the passing lanes.

* Just as winning teams typically get multiple All-Stars, the League’s top defensive teams have multiple players here: Charlotte (1st), Boston (2nd), the Lakers (8th) and Chicago (13th). The Hornets (19th) are the only team in the bottom half of the points-against category with multiple players. The Cavs, Blazers, Thunder, Spurs and Magic — teams ranking 3rd through 7th in points allowed — are also represented. Detroit is the only team in the Top-10 without a rep.

* Voting for the All-Defensive team at the end of the season often plays out like NFL Pro Bowl selections on the offensive and defensive lines: Reputation counts for too much. Don’t be surprised if LeBron, KG, Kobe, Duncan and Dwight are almost-unanimous first team All-Defensive picks, even if other guys in their own conferences made more of a defensive impact.

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