4. Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies
We’ve heard for years now that Tony Allen is a great defender. Some of us are probably sick of hearing about it. But it is true. Allen is one of the best defensive players in the NBA.
In the following video Tony Allen is asked about defending the NBA’s best player, LeBron James. Listen closely to the professor.
A few key things Allen mentions, which are all true and essential for excellent individual defense. First, he wanted to be physical with LeBron, make things tough for him, play within the defensive scheme, trust his teammates if James should get by him, and then live with the results.
Allen doesn’t feel the need to reinvent the wheel or come up with some super fancy plan. He just goes out and plays hard-nosed, physical basketball.
Whether against LeBron, or anyone else, Allen has been outstanding again this season. On all field goal attempts where he was the primary defender, Allen has allowed just a 36 percent success rate. That’s insane. On 3-point attempts, just 28.8 percent—which comprise 35.6 percent of the shot attempts against him.
That’s a fairly high percentage. But again, opponents shoot a low percentage on them. More importantly, of all the 2-point attempts he allows, 60.7 percent come from beyond 15 feet—which in this day of analytics is being redefined as the worst shot in basketball.
Allen is not only physical, but he understands that the goal is to get guys to take long twos. When they do, they shoot just 30.3 percent against him.
Next: A Warrior in every defensive sense