Ranking the Best Lockdown Perimeter Defenders in the NBA

Matt Shetler@@buccos12Correspondent IMay 23, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 11: Tony Allen #9 of the Memphis Grizzlies pumps his fist in to celebrate during the final seconds against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 11, 2011 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.  The Grizzlies won 90-88 to tie the series at three games each.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The New York Knicks Tyson Chandler won the Defensive Player of the Year award, mostly due to wrecking havoc in the paint and the overall impact he had on the Knicks team.

But who are the NBA's top lockdown defenders, the guys who can shut down a high-scoring swingman or create havoc along the perimeter?

Who are the guys that you want on the opposition's best scorer with the game on the line?

Let's take a look as I attempt to rank the top five perimeter defenders in the NBA today.


Five that Missed the Cut

These five guys barely missed cracking the top five, but certainly are no slouches on the defensive end of the floor. These five players include: Shane Battier, Iman Shumpert, Chris Paul, Paul George and Avery Bradley.

It was hard to keep any of these guys out of the top five, but ultimately there could only be five guys.


5. Luol Deng, Chicago Bulls

Deng has size, mobility and most importantly he gives maximum effort at the defensive end of the floor.

He usually draws the opposition's best player and his length and outstanding footwork allows him to get his hands on passes. Deng has outstanding lateral quickness and is very tough for opposing players to shoot over.

His outstanding effort in 2012 was rewarded with his first All-Star selection.


4. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics

On the perimeter and in the open floor, Rondo displays possibly the best lateral quickness in the NBA and is a nightmare for the virtually anyone he guards on a nightly basis.

When he’s not shutting his man down, Rondo is still a great defender within the Celtics team concept. His length allows him to contest shots, his quickness lets him prevent penetration extremely well, and he shows great discipline.

His quickness to the ball is unparalleled,and allows Rondo to force plenty of turnovers and create transistion opportunities.

Rondo hawks to the ball and always seems to make a big play on the defensive end when the Celtics need one. In addition, he's one of the best rebounding guards in the NBA, despite standing only 6'1".


3. Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia 76ers

Iguodala is a defensive master and is one of the top perimeter defenders in the NBA today.

He's an elite athlete who manages to play great defense without fouling, only committing 1.5 personal fouls per game.

Iguodla is the type of player that coaches love, one who will give more effort on the defensive end than most top scorers are willing to give on the offensive end.

He does an outstanding job reading the eyes of ball handlers and intercepting passes to create transition opportunities and also possesses the quickness and length to effectively deny penetration. 

He's among the finalists vying for a spot on Team USA's Olympic team and could serve the role as the defensive stopper in the London Games.

2. LeBron James, Miami Heat

Due to his size, strength and speed, James is an outstanding defender and rebounder who can guard any position on the floor.

LBJ has always been a very good defender, but he took it to another level this season and was more committed. In year's past you could make the claim that James was more of an opportunistic defender, but not this year as King James excelled at that end of the floor.

His quickness makes it difficult for most forwards to get by him and his size make things extremely hard on guards.

LeBron's overall strength also allows him to stay with his man after absorbing contact, which not many players in the NBA can do.


1. Tony Allen, Memphis Grizzlies

Allen is the NBA's best perimeter defender in the game today. He combines an in-your-face approach to one-on-one defense with a sixth sense for helping teammates. Sometimes it seems like Allen is guarding two or three guys at once, which speaks to his abilities.

The best word to describe Allen as a defender is relentless. He brings it every possession and just smothers the opposition.

Allen has excellent lateral quickness and the perfect combination of length, strength and tenacity which makes him the premiere perimeter defender in the game today.