NBA Draft 2012: Elite Defenders Who Will Help Reshape a Team
It’s simple, defense wins championships. Sure, you can have an offensive powerhouse like we saw in Oklahoma City and Miami, but production can be streaky at times.
The difference between a win or a loss can boil down to just a few possessions. That is where these NBA draft prospects slot themselves in.
Many of these players made headlines at the collegiate level, and now they have the opportunity to change the pace of the game with the big boys. Here is my pool of talent that will help rewrite the new chapter in NBA history.
Let the fun begin!
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It is hard to talk about NBA prospects and not mention the likes of Anthony Davis. The only thing remaining in the way of Davis and New Orleans are the dwindling hours on the clock.
Perhaps because of the many weapons he had at his disposal last season, Davis was the human highlight reel. He transcended his competition and helped take his Wildcats to an NCAA title. He is the complete package.
On the offensive side of the ball, he has the capability to size up underneath or play small out around the perimeter. Those abilities are desired facets of his game.
But as a defender is where he will earn his paycheck.
The defensive aspect of his game is phenomenal to watch. If you’re planning on taking one to the hole, you might want to rethink your options before becoming another addition to his block party.
He averaged just shy of five blocks per game. Since his expectations are already through the roof, I don’t think this will hurt him when I say his defensive skills remind me of the name Serge Ibaka.
New Orleans will undoubtedly be better with the most athletically gifted talent under their wings for years to come. He is going to be the necessary franchise player the decimated team needs to rebuild themselves.
Mr. and Mrs. Benson, you’re welcome.
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Another one of John Calipari’s freshman workhorses, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist should arguably be awarded with the silver medal for the second-best defender on this list. Sorry, his former teammate takes the cake.
Unlike the dual-threat feature that Davis posts, MKG has some kinks he could straighten out on his perimeter game. But that is for another time.
It is his defense that is out of this world.
His relentless work ethic makes him a virtual threat on defense every time. Those 18-year-old legs have proven that he can give chase with the best of them. But it his 7’0’’ wingspan that sends him above the rest.
He is always around the ball. If he is not contesting the shot, then he is presumably grabbing board after board. MKG’s stellar defense is undeniably NBA-ready.
Electric plays, like Thabo Sefolosha’s silent pickpocketing act of Dwayne Wade, represent the style that MKG comes equipped with.
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The St. John’s star may not possess the relentless attacking ability on offense, but his defense is second to none.
Harkless is a physical specimen. His lanky 6’8’’ frame that rests between his 7’2’’ wingspan provides him with the opportunity to disrupt the quick jump shot or battle it out in the trenches in the low post.
He has the size and speed to dominate at the next level. And when the two combine, he is a virtual threat anywhere on the court.
He is flying very low on the radar right now. But without question, he is one of the most talented big men in the draft this year.
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Henson elevated his game dramatically in the last two seasons and became a staple in North Carolina's defensive system.
His length and aggressive style of play combine to formulate a pressing nightmare for shooters.
Like Anthony Davis, Henson's physical attributes also lack in the muscular department. Fortunately, they have the raw athleticism to make up for their lack of Venice Beach body types.
It won’t be hard for the strength and conditioning coach to mold the muscle into shape with the hard-nosed work ethic that Henson possesses.
His ability to rebound, defend the perimeter and contest any jumper slants heavily toward his advantage.
For any team looking for a solidified backbone in their defense, it would only be appropriate to come calling Henson’s way.
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Apart form their inflated egos, the Heat need to improve desperately with a presence underneath. It would be in their best interest to come up big in the draft and go after Fab Melo.
'Melo has the shot-blocking ability that the Heat desperately need. Offensively, he could use some pointers.
But it is his tenacious style of defense that has warranted him his collegiate successes. If he lands in Miami, I can see 'Melo being a critical piece to the puzzle for the Heat to repeat in 2013.
And with a name like Fab Melo, it would only be fitting if he took his talents to South Beach to join the party.
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I am making a bold move by slotting in a 6‘4’’ point guard in a center-heavy category. But it is hard for me not to award the unselfish play of Kendall Marshall.
He reminds me a lot of a younger Derek Fisher. He is always around the ball, making plays and creating havoc on defense. Yes, his defense does have some concerns, but I think the upside outweighs the negative remarks.
Marshall has the ideal footwork ability to maintain his defensive presence. One thing that sets him apart is his overall knack for the game.
He is a risk-or-reward type of player who will never back down from taking a charge to shift the momentum his way.
He has the natural instincts that NBA teams look for in their point guard.