Welcome to the blog post that lists the top 10 best defenders in NBA. These are players who have had a reputation for being tough, strong, and able to stop other teams from scoring. They can also be counted on for clutch plays when their team needs it most.
Who will you find on this list? Some of your favorite players like Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, and Draymond Green! This is why you need to read all about these best NBA defenders now, so you know which one will make your team unstoppable!
10, Jakob Poeltl
|Team||San Antonio Spurs|
|Career Net Rating Swing||6.1|
Jakob Poeltl is a sensation in the paint. He’s only 22 years old and already has a knack for shutting down opponents both near and far from the hoop. With the ability to come into battle on offense, Jakob can do it all at the young age of 20. We’ve been here before with players like Kawhi Leonard or Tim Duncan—younger players taking over the team late in its dynasty cycle thanks to an un-matchable skill set.
Jakob Poeltl was drafted up by the Spurs in 2016 and has been a solid athlete. While Dejounte Murray is arguably more likely to make an all-defensive team, Poeltl might be the most deserving because his stats are excellent. He’s helped out many defenses when he’s relatively close to taking down shots – 49%!
Best defenders in NBA Jakob Poeltl is a heavyweight reserve center for the Spurs. At 7-feet tall, with mobility and jumping ability, he’s excelling on both ends of the court. Efficiency-wise, opponents shot 49% from within 6 feet in Jakob’s vicinity to date – which is third-best in the league!
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09, Andrew Wiggins
|Team||Golden State Warriors|
|Position||Shooting guard, Small forward|
|Career Net Rating Swing||10|
Andrew Wiggins is getting a lot of unfair criticism. This 6-foot-7, 197-pounder has become one of the better two-way players in the league. His on-ball defense has been excellent this season. Per Second Spectrum tracking data, Jayson Tatum shot 5 out of 16 from the field with Wiggins as the closest defender, DeMar DeRozan 5 out 15, Bradley Beal 6 out 14, and Kawhi Leonard 6 out 17, to name a few examples!
Though he needs a few tweaks to his game, Andrew Wiggins is morphing into one of the finest two-way players in the best defenders in NBA. With impressive on-ball defense and flashes of offensive production this season, it’s not surprising per reports that teams like Philadelphia and Denver are aggressively trying to trade for him – a wise move given that both Philly and Detroit should be playoff teams.
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08, Joel Embiid
|Career Net Rating Swing||Plus 8.3|
Joel Embiid is an All-Star center from the Philadelphia 76ers. With a tough defensive prowess and impressive shot-blocking, Joel Embiid so successful with his contagious energy and defensive dominance. His top knock is mainly that he fouls too much, but this year’s stats show that he has minimized his fouling while still putting up defensive numbers for Philly to be proud of.
The two best players in the NBA, Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid, are both phenomenal. One is a tall center with dazzling skills who dazzles opponents on offense and defense, while the other is barely large enough to be considered an actual center which supplies some of the league’s most impressive rebounding numbers as well as being one of its most committed best defenders in NBA without fouling.
Despite their similarities as dominant big men, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic are chalk-and-cheese. Embiid is an expert disruptor who does not hesitate to swat at the ball near the basket. He has the agility of a small forward in this regard, highlighting his versatility despite being 6’10” (2.08m).
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07, Draymond Green
|Team||Golden State Warriors|
|Career Net Rating Swing||8.0|
Teams are constantly looking for defensive-minded players to anchor their lineups. When Golden State drafted Draymond Green in 2012, it was a move that would eventually have an everlasting impact on the team – and the league.
Green is one of only four active players in NBA history with at least 1,500 steals and 900 blocks. He’s also second behind Tim Duncan in total rebounds and steals per game over both playoff appearances during his career.
With all of this success, is there really any surprise that he doesn’t believe anyone will ever be able to match his talent athletically? We think you should enter your recipient’s birthday into our system to make sure!
Many people think of Draymond Green as the best defenders in NBA, but he’s not. Among the active players over the past 90 games, his defensive rating is enough to get him into the top 10, yet his team’s excellent offense inflates that number.
What makes him special defensively is his astuteness and physicality: Like a band orchestration, Green orchestrates his teammates today while understanding where they should stand on the floor.
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06, Myles Turner
|Career Net Rating Swing||Plus 3.2|
Myles Turner: the youngest All-Star in Pacers history, has an NBA record of 8 blocks in just 17 minutes against the Toronto Raptors on December 29th. Myles also holds a league-high 3.4 blocks per game but is currently out with a partial tear of his plantar plate, which averages over three blocks/game this season.
Nobody has better timing when rising to block or alter a shot than Indiana’s 6ft 11in and 250lb center, who gained recognition over his time at college 2014-16 at Pasaqua Community College and Texas A&M University, where he averaged 18 points per game as well as 7 rebounds per game.
Imagine living in a world where players can touch the ball just once every 36 minutes, and their season is limited to 41 out of 87 games. You are Jaylen Brown or James Harden. Spend your whole life trying to become one of the best NBA defenders.
Only to be punished for it, which we all know is unfair. Now imagine this same player as not Jaylen Brown or -James Harden but rather Indiana Pacer Myles Turner, who has a mind that questions anything.
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05, LeBron James
|Team||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Career Net Rating Swing||Plus 4.6|
The Los Angeles Lakers have been rolling with LeBron James since he joined the team. His efforts on defense and leadership skills led to his nickname: “The Middle Linebacker.” Watch below as one of the best defenders in NBA gets backside help against two key plays.
Continuing his journey to greatness, LeBron James has found himself in the position to add another NBA award for Defensive Player of the Year following a season with the Lakers. We admire and celebrate his success as he continues to achieve new boundaries and excellence on the court.
Heading into the second round of this season’s playoffs, Ryan Arcidiacono and Karl-Anthony Towns Jr. have had their fair share of difficulties against LeBron James. While James is going at a slower pace that only time can heal, he still contributes much more than his stats show on paper. The lefty lives in the paint when defending.
This makes him an especially good perimeter help defender (Sean Kilpatrick times around to shoot right off the dribble is a perfect example). In addition to being a backside helper, he also has quick hands that make it difficult for opponents who play farther away from the hoop (the Dallas Mavericks found out this past December when Dwight Powell submitted 4 turnovers and 2 fouls through 6 possessions.
04, Giannis Antetokounmpo
|Position||Power forward, Center|
|Career Net Rating Swing||Plus-6.0|
Giannis is as great on defense as he is with the ball in his hands. The Bucks are trending upwards this season, and Giannis’ presence on defense has been a key component to that success. Giannis is as great on defense as he is with the ball in his hands. The Bucks are trending upwards this season, and Giannis’ presence on defense has been a key component to that success.
The best defenders in NBA, Giannis Antetokounmpo, stands at 6’11 and sports a wingspan of nearly 7 and a half feet. Slowing him down is no small feat, but he somehow gets even better on defense as the game goes on. The breakout guard has played in all 71 games this season for Milwaukee, averaging 25 points, 12 rebounds per contest while leading his team to an NBA-best 54 wins.
With one of the most versatile offensive arsenals in the league (either layups or grab an alley-oop), opponents will know they are getting their lungs blown out by an elite defender with surprising agility when they go up against The Greek Freak this February 28th!
03, Bam Adebayo
|Position||Center / Power forward|
|Career Net Rating Swing||8.0|
Bam Adebayo is a professional basketball player with the Miami Heat who has outperformed expectations and made strides at becoming an all-around impact player. His athleticism and aggression in guarding Kyrie Irving highlight strictly how he’s grown as an athlete to keep up with today’s modern game of basketball.
He demonstrates excellent defense, sacrificing his body for blocks without jumping; meanwhile, he also leads the team in rebounds per game. As Bam continues to mature over the next few years, it won’t be hard imagining him being a top defensive force for years to come!
Bam Adebayo is one of the premier defensive players in the best NBA defenders, having ranked top ten by Defensive Real Plus-Minus last season. His killer instinct borders on maniacal when it comes to big moments. In addition, he has a surprisingly deft touch on offense and can grab just about any rebound that plops near him.
With career averages of seven points and five boards per game over 137 games played, Bam Adebayo wants nothing more than for you to join his team this upcoming season!
02, Rudy Gobert
|Career Net Rating Swing||Plus-7.5|
NBA best defenders Rudy Gobert is a French player for the Utah Jazz. With averages of 2.8 blocks and 2.4 fouls, Gobert is poised to repeat his success from last season, which allowed him to win the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award again – making him just one of six players in history ever to accomplish that feat more than twice.
Star center and Defensive Player of the Year candidate Rudy Gobert is thriving in a new, expanded role. The Stifle Tower has led the team to its first playoff berth, and he’s on track to earn an award that only three other men have won at least 3 times: MVP.
01, Ben Simmons
|Career Net Rating Swing||8.1|
Ben Simmons is a throwback center initially pegged for stardom after coming into the league as part of a one-person lottery, but there’s plenty more to him than meets the eye. That doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll live up to every expectation as part of what would be an exhilarating Philadelphia experiment if it ever came together, and his jump shot still needs some work before that can happen.
Simmons is a hard-working, incredibly long player who excels defensively. He may never blossom into an offensively elite star in the NBA, but his all-around effort and presence on the defensive end will keep him in a starting lineup for years to come.
Simmons is a defensive powerhouse and can alter every single offensive player he faces. Ben may never be an All-Star caliber scorer like his contemporaries, but he’s a perfect glue guy to put on the floor as teams build their rosters for future competitive success.
NBA best defenders, Simmons’s impact goes beyond simple basketball games; he was instrumental in Philadelphia, turning around one of the worst decades running franchises when winning percentage. The sky’s still bright with potential for his next opponent: your team!
Now that we’ve given you our list of the best defenders in NBA let us know which players are your favorite. Which team do they play for? And why is this their number one defender on the team? Did they have an excellent season, or did it take some time to get used to them as defenders? Comment below and tell us what you think about our best defenders in the NBA list!