NBA Trade Deadline: The 10 Most Feared Defenders on the Market
Defense wins championships, right? That's usually applied towards football, but it should be applied towards basketball as well.
I mean, have we ever witnessed a subpar defensive team win an NBA title? I can't think of any, at least not in recent memory.
As the trade deadline is fast approaching, numerous teams are seeking to plug holes and make upgrades. Before Thursday's deadline, a handful of teams will seek to target difference-makers on the defensive side of the ball.
Well, who are the top defenders on the trade market? This list analyzes the players who can bring floor-slapping intensity and defensive prowess.
I just wanted to get the obvious one out of the way first.
While Howard has now indicated he'd like to stay in Orlando for the rest of the season, there's still a chance the Magic find a deal they can't refuse.
Plus, they've already watched one future Hall of Fame big man leave the city without any compensation (Shaquille O'Neal). Maybe they don't want history to repeat itself.
Therefore, Howard remains on the trading block until the trade deadline officially expires, because if Orlando receives an alluring offer, they certainly have reason to bite with Howard's future not guaranteed after this year.
If a team does work a deal for "Superman," they will not only land a quality defensive big man, but they will land the reigning three-time Defensive Player of the Year (2009-2011).
From Dwight Howard to Eric Bledsoe? Yes, that just happened.
While Bledsoe is not anywhere near being an elite player, he does possess a great deal of upside and is only 22 years old.
With Chris Paul and Mo Williams ahead of him on the depth chart with the Clippers, there's a good chance the Clips bid farewell to their reserve point guard prior to the trade deadline.
He's someone for other teams to target because his abilities feature superb quickness and all-around agility. According to ESPN's John Hollinger, Bledsoe has the ability to become an all-world defender in a couple of years.
He's a player and defender to examine, especially for a team looking for youth and some pieces to build around for the future.
With the Mavericks struggling and their hopes of repeating as champions looking bleak, don't be surprised if they decide to cut ties with veteran forward Shawn Marion.
If a team desires a versatile weapon on defense, Marion is certainly a worthwhile option. He still has the ability to defend different positions and his combination of length and quickness is rare.
However, "the Matrix" is past his prime and possesses a few years left on a hefty contract, which may cause teams to steer clear of the 33-year-old.
While owner Mark Cuban has said the Mavs aren't making trade calls, he did indicate that they're taking them. A lacking defensive team would be wise to inquire about Marion, because he could potentially be had for a fairly cheap price.
There have just been reports that the Hawks have no plans to trade Josh Smith prior to the trade deadline.
This was indicated by their co-owner Bruce Levenson, so Smith's name should perhaps not be included on this list.
But you never know what can happen in the moments leading up to the trade deadline. If a team approached Atlanta with an enticing deal, they'd have to consider casting off Smith, who, quite frankly, would likely benefit from a change of scenery.
One thing is for sure: Smith will enhance a team's defense, as he's one of the game's more versatile players and should've been an All-Star.
But after Levenson's comments, it's clear that the asking price for Smith will be steep, so the offer would have to be one that the Hawks can't refuse.
JaVale McGee is a very intriguing option, as he's second in the league in blocks per game.
According to the Washington Post, the Wizards are willing to listen to offers for their 7'1" big man.
There will certainly be offers, but the Washington Post also indicates that the Wizards will likely ask suitors to also take back Andray Blatche and his excessive contract.
This will be a deal-breaker for most teams.
However, McGee's ability to rebound and block shots is coveted, and teams seeking to fortify the paint would be well-served to inquire about him.
And frankly, Washington's stance on McGee will very likely soften as the deadline nears. McGee is a free agent this offseason and will command a pricey contract. Perhaps the Wizards will decide to cut ties while they can still receive compensation for him.
Metta World Peace
While Ron Art-, I mean, Metta World Peace is not an ideal acquisition, he can supply hustle and defense. If a team desires a veteran presence who can bring some needed grit and toughness, World Peace is an option to consider.
But he does still have three years remaining on his contract, which is a red flag for suitors.
With that said, he could likely be acquired for virtually nothing.
And who knows, perhaps a change of scenery will revive World Peace. A fresh start could be exactly what he needs.
Chris "Birdman" Andersen
The Nuggets possess a bevy of young big men, which has left Chris "Birdman" Andersen as an expendable player on the roster.
Most fans know what "Birdman" can do and it virtually all comes on the defensive end of the floor—rebound, hustle, block shots and flap his wings.
If this is exactly what a team is looking for, they should inquire ASAP. There's no reason to think Andersen cannot be had and he could instantly bolster a team's frontcourt.
The 6'11" center Samuel Dalembert can block shots with the best of them (2.0 per game this season) and he is also active on the glass (7.6).
Houston owns a handful of young big men and they may seek to part ways with the 30-year-old Dalembert prior to the deadline.
He would be a great fit for a team in contention, as he provides length and energy.
Slashing forward Gerald Wallace is seeing a decline in numbers this season, as the 29-year-old is not producing like he did in years past.
Thus, now could be a good time for an interested team to jump on acquiring Wallace, because his stock is down and he still has the athletic ability to influence games on the defensive end.
Don't be surprised if teams begin making a push to acquire Wallace. He's surely a player for struggling defensive teams to pursue.
Courtney Lee is an agile defender and has playoff experience from venturing to the NBA Finals with Orlando in 2009.
He'd make for a great addition if a team is seeking a defensive weapon on the wing for the stretch run.
What's more, he can also contribute effectively on offense, where he's shooting 40 percent from three-point range.
He's a solid option, especially considering that he possesses a small, expiring contract.