Breaking Down The Defensive Stance of NBA All-Defensive Stars

Not many basketball players are overly enthusiastic about playing defense. Some players have tremendous defensive fundamentals, which leads to a good defensive stance. 

I remember always getting jacked up to play defense because it energized me for the offensive possessions. The more I would get in the offensive player’s face, the more I would find myself diving for loose balls and leading the fast break on the other end of the court. When I had a lot of defensive intensity, I would be able to help the team on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court.

The best defenders in the world have gone through a great number of defensive drills, and they stay on the fronts of their feet with their feet straight ahead and have a stable base. In addition, they have their hips back and knees bent with their butt down.

Here are the National Basketball Association’s best defenders recently:

The 2019-20 NBA All-Defensive First Team

Rudy Gobert (2020-21 Defensive Player of the Year; fourth selection to All-Defensive Team)

Anthony Davis (fourth selection)

Marcus Smart (second selection)

Giannis Antetokounmpo (third selection)

Ben Simmons (first selection)

The 2019-20 NBA All-Defensive Second Team

Kawhi Leonard (sixth selection)

Patrick Beverley (third selection)

Eric Bledsoe (second selection)

Brook Lopez (first selection)

Bam Adebayo (first selection)

What is The Purpose of a Defensive Stance?

The purpose of a defensive stance is to stay in front of the offensive player that the defender is guarding. 

When getting into a defensive position, a good defender can deter his or her opponent from dribbling toward the basket. The proper defensive stance can also force opponents into turning the ball over to the defensive team.

Without further ado, let’s showcase 4 of the best defenders in the NBA.

Rudy Gobert

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, a 3-time Defensive Player of the Year, has very active hands, and he has been a menace on the defensive end for the majority of his career. 

“The Stifle Tower” has averaged more than two blocks per game since 2014-15 and standing at 7 feet and 1 inch tall, he uses his height and impressive wingspan to deter offensive players, especially in the paint. When getting into his solid defensive stance, he makes sure to stay in front of his opponent. 

His strong athleticism and ability to jump quickly allows him to recover even if the best of the best are able to drive by him, as evidenced by his impressive block of Luka Dončić.

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 2-time NBA Most Valuable Player Award winner and 5-time all-star, also won the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2019-20. 

He still has to prove to the basketball world that he can play well when it counts in the playoffs, but his defense at 6 feet, 11 inches tall is among the best in the league. Antetokounmpo does not block as many shots as Gobert does, but he can shut down practically any player. 

He has a great stance where can stay in front of the offensive player while also having the reach to steal the ball at almost any moment. His effective defensive stance is enhanced by his ability to chase down the greatest players in the NBA. 

Whether it is a fast break or helping from the weak side, Antetokounmpo is practically unmatched with his help defense.

Ben Simmons

Ben Simmons, a 3-time all-star and the 2017-18 NBA Rookie of the Year, has such a good stance on defense that he seems to get the best angle on every offensive player. 

His squatting position is perfect to prevent his opponent from moving anywhere except laterally and backward. For aspiring Defensive Players of the Year, they should be looking at his proper stance. 

He appears to never be on his heels. Although he can be knocked for his offensive inefficiency at times, Simmons always seems to make up for it on the defensive end. His athleticism combined with his ability to steal and block the basketball leads to countless fast breaks and easy buckets on the other end of the court.

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis, a 3-time blocks leader and two-time All-Defensive First Team selection, has such a huge wingspan that whenever an offensive player challenges him near the hoop, it is a very difficult shot attempt if the opponent can even get it off. 

Most of the time, his athleticism is the best on the court, as he makes it almost impossible for players to get by him. 

On the majority of his best plays, he does not need to get very far down in a defensive stance because his height prevents the offensive player from getting anything going to the hoop.

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Mike Noblin

Mike has been involved with basketball for over 30 years as a player, coach, and bettor. He has a degree in Sports Psychology and enjoys following both the NBA and College Basketball on a nightly basis.