LeBron James: Forget Offense, He May Be the Best Defensive Stopper in the NBA

Sean GrimmCorrespondent IMay 31, 2011

MIAMI, FL - MAY 24:  LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat defends Derrick Rose #1 of the Chicago Bulls in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Finals during the 2011 NBA Playoffs on May 24, 2011 at American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida. The Heat won 101-93 in overtime. 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 Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

All postseason long, LeBron James of the Miami Heat has taken his offensive talents to a whole new level.

He has put the Heat on his back several times, willing Miami to some seemingly impossible victories. From head-scratching threes to his usual dominance when driving in the lane, the superstar has done it all.

Although many of his haters can't stand it, not one person can deny that James' performance this postseason has been nothing short of impressive.

However, while the star forward is busy creating plays and scoring for the NBA's most disliked team, he's also leading a tenacious team effort on the defensive side of the ball.

James' defense has been absolutely huge for the Heat during its current playoff run. He's created turnovers, locked down opposing teams' scoring threats and provided some of his trademarked, come-from-behind blocks.

In a nutshell, James has never let up his intensity on the defensive side of the ball this postseason. Not once.

Perhaps his most noteworthy accomplishment on defense thus far has been shutting down the Chicago Bulls' young superstar and league MVP, Derrick Rose.

He didn't just shut him down, he ate him alive.

Entering the series, many thought that Rose was invincible with the ball in his hands. He was too quick and Miami didn't have the personnel to contain him once he got in the paint.


The Miami Heat had all the personnel they needed and more in just one player: LeBron James.

James tormented the young point guard and Chicago native all series along, forcing him to take ill-advised jump shots on a constant basis.

Rose ended up scoring 117 points while taking a prolific 120 shots from the field.

Sure, many will say, "Of course James is going to be able to shut down a guard who is nearly six inches shorter." However, it must also be realized that there aren't many other 6'8'' forwards, if any, who could physically keep up with Rose's quickness and agility all game long to suffocate him as much as James did.

This is why James is so special. At 6'8'' and 250 pounds with his incredible athleticism, James has an uncanny ability to cover a wide range of positions.

As a matter of fact, James has had to cover every position at some point or another during this season with the Heat.

Is James the best defensive stopper in the NBA? He just might be, and this finals matchup could very well provide that answer.

One thing is for sure: James will have his hands full over the next two weeks should he find himself guarding No. 41 on the Dallas Mavericks