Team defense takes plenty of time to teach, especially for young basketball players. It requires a cohesive unit that forgets personal numbers and wants only to win. There are plenty of great examples of team-first defenders in the NBA. Coaches can use sports team websites to focus on some of the best around and teach youngsters about playing defense the right way.
Memphis center plays for the victory
Marc Gasol, center for the Memphis Grizzlies, is one of the most talented players in the league. He makes his teammates better because he focuses his game on doing what’s best for the squad as a whole, regardless of individual statistics, according to USA Today. Of course, Gasol is so good that he gets those too.
He won the Defensive Player of the Year award last season because of this team-oriented style of play. Gasol is willing to make a switch and sacrifice a few points here and there if he knows that his actions are in the best interests of winning. He doesn’t need to prove himself at this point in his career, so he’s not concerned with double-doubles and other statistical benchmarks that can be more detrimental than positive.
“You’ve got to help no matter who you’re playing,” Gasol told the news outlet. “It’s not about your man scoring. I know at the end of the day, there’s the totals. And they’ll be talking [expletive] if you let your man score all the points. You don’t want that. But you’ve got to do what’s best for the team. Now you see some guys, they don’t help so they can get the rebound. That just hurts your team.”
Noel enters the top rookie discussion
Andrew Wiggins, forward for the Minnesota Timberwolves, is viewed as the heavy favorite for the Rookie of the Year award this season. He’s certainly earned the projection. However, coach Brett Brown believes that Nerlens Noel, center for the Philadelphia 76ers, also deserves some attention for the accolade, NBA.com reported.
Noel’s shot-blocking prowess, rebounding ability and skills when it comes to interior defense make him an imposing threat night in and night out.
“Listen, people really have to start talking about him for Rookie of the Year,” Brown told the news outlet. “You just don’t repetitively bang out these types of performances and produce the numbers he is producing. He is a complete game changer. He just keeps moving up the food chain and heading in the direction that we are all so thrilled about.”