By Court Zierk @courtzierk on September 2, 2014
Defense in the NBA is becoming a lost art. With the fame and glory players are gaining solely from the offensive end of the court, defense is at far less of a premium than it ever has been. That isn’t to say it has lost its importance; but we are seeing more and more players taking plays off, and it is almost always on the defensive side of the ball. These ten players in particular seem to hate defense more than any others in the league.
Sometimes I have to remind people that defensive rebounds really aren't defense at all. In fact, they often result from a player being so out of position on defense that the ball literally falls into their outstretched arms. No player epitomizes this more than David Lee, who has been one of the league’s best rebounders for years but has also been one of the worst defenders.
Fredette came into the league as one of the most prolific scorers in NCAA history, but he was never known for his passionate desire to become a strong defender. That certainly hasn’t changed since he entered the NBA. In fact, while he has been on the floor, the team’s he played for have been outscored by 11 points per 100 possessions. Ouch.
Martin has carved out a niche over his 11 years in the league, but it certainly hasn’t resulted from anything he has done on the defensive side of the ball. Martin looks as awkward on defense as he does shooting the ball. The only difference is that he is actually a good shooter. No matter who he has played for, his team has always been better defensively with him on the bench.
Crawford is a firecracker off the bench, providing an almost unparalleled impact when he enters the game. So much impact that he received the 2014 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award. However, that recognition has nothing to do with what he brings to the table defensively. His defensive weaknesses have been covered up by the fact that he plays next to some of the better defenders in the league, but don’t let that fool you.
The Trail Blazers are a bad defensive team, led by a bad defensive point guard. In fact, Lillard is so bad that fellow Oakland native Gary Payton has personally challenged Lillard to step up his game defensively and has offered to help him develop more of a defensive mindset. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Lillard never took “the glove” up on this offer.
Love’s defense has been so bad, that following his recent trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers, Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor basically came out and admitted that they gave Love a free pass to completely avoid playing defense at all. Call it sour grapes if you want, but eventually even sour grapes make wine; and Love looks like he’d rather be drinking that wine than become involved on the defensive end of the court.
Calderon is the perfect fit for a Knicks team that may be one of the worst defensive teams this league has ever seen. I could have stacked this entire list with Knicks players, but I didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by failing to mention their defensive woes. Calderon is a turnstile, allowing players to blow by him at will. He lacks lateral quickness and consistently ducks under screens, allowing players to shoot at will against him.
It’s hard to believe that Bargnani was once an overall No. 1 pick. It’s even harder to imagine him playing anything that remotely resembles defense. I have watched clip after clip of Bargnani looking as lost on defense as any player I have ever seen. If it weren’t for two of the worst defenders of all time currently playing in the league, Bargnani would certainly take the cake.
I have watched Carmelo play for years, during his time in Denver and now as often as I can with the Knicks. One thing has remained constant; he simply doesn’t like to play defense. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. To his credit, it does seem like he has started to put some effort into it, but he is simply a really, really bad defender. At least he has an historically great scoring ability going for him.
Harden is quite simply the worst defender I have seen play in my moderately lengthy lifetime. He is so bad that there are 11-minute YouTube videos out there that show him being blown by against offensive player after offensive player, and some of the slower players in the league at that. The sad part is that he is one of the most athletic players alive; he simply lacks the desire or the wherewithal to ever develop into even an average defender.
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