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News » Thunder show they're still not among NBA's elite

Thunder show they're still not among NBA's elite

Thunder show they're still not among NBA's elite

It has been said many times that offense wins games but defense wins championships — and I heartily concur. That said, I do not "dislike" players whose talents are focused on offense. After all, somebody's got to score.

What I am concerned about, however, is the media constantly promote guys who can only score. The only defenders who are universally celebrated are those whose defensive skills can be quantified in numbers — blocked shots, defensive rebounds and steals. Because there are no statistics that measure good defensive rotations, showing to positive effect on the weak-side of screen-and-rolls, helping on weak-side screens, getting back on defense, bad shots forced, shots intimidated, passes denied, boxing out, deflections in passing lanes and so on, truly effective defenders are largely ignored.

In fact, blocked shots, defensive rebounds and steals are the only statistical categories that presume to determine defensive prowess. Compare this to field-goal percentage, three-point percentage, free-throw percentage, offensive rebounds, assists and points-per-game. (Yes, there are no stats for screens set, lanes filled, passes that lead to assist passes, et al.)

Moreover, given that the NBA as a whole shot only 45.8 percent last season, it's quite obvious defenses were successful 54.2 percent of the time. Free throws, though, do add another critical factor here, raising the NBA's universal points-per-possession to about 1.1. But playing good defense without committing debilitating fouls is yet another defensive skill that can't be measured — and that can't be touted by the media.

Far from denigrating exceptional point-makers, what I've been attempting to accomplish for these many years is to emphasize the overwhelming importance of guys who specialize in playing defense.

Travels with Charley

And then I wrote:


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Author: Fox Sports
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Added: November 16, 2009


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