The 2011 NBA draft will be held in a few weeks in Newark, NJ. The prospects this year feature a number of players who have excelled at guarding the perimeter in school.
Perimeter defense is a huge part of NBA play today. Many of the elite players are not big men and definitely need to be controlled by opponents when handling the ball.
In no particular order, here are the top 12 perimeter defenders in the draft.
Kyrie Irving showed in limited play last season that he is an avid defender. Has quick feet, which allows him to stick with opponents. Gets in good stances. Closes in on the passing lanes well. Averaged 1.5 steals a game in his freshman year.
Brandon Knight's height and length allow him to bother and stay at arm's length of his opponent most of the time. Really quick at getting to spots on defense. During his senior year of high school, he drew two charges a game.
Shelvin Mack is exceptionally strong on defense. His thick, wide frame makes up for his lack of great speed. Can overpower and wear out most point guards he covers.
Malcolm Lee has the size to defend shooting guards and the speed to defend point guards. Length is what mostly makes up his defensive capabilities. Has a great feel for where to be, which allows him to excel in team defense.
Iman Shumpert's body is structured perfectly to defend point guards, shooting guards and small forwards. Puts in great energy and effort on D. Plays bigger than 6'5". Averaged 2.7 steals a game last year. Always guarded opposing team's best player.
Kawhi Leonard is an athletic freak and definitely uses that on the defensive end. Has great timing when getting into the passing lanes. Extremely versatile defensively. Good at contesting shots.
Marshon Brooks combines his long arms with a high level of energy on defense. Great lateral speed, which keeps him by his man at all times.
Josh Selby is another defender who possesses great lateral quickness. Has a great defensive mentality and a sturdy frame. Eclipses jump shooters well.
Chris Singleton has been known to guard bigs. He is very versatile, however, and is highly capable of defending wings. He anticipates passes well, as he can step in and get steals. Averaged two steals a game last season.
Derrick Williams is a smart defender. He has a great understanding of that side of the ball and uses his body to pressure his opponent. His length helps a lot as well.
Alec Burks is quick both on his feet and with his hands. He is really focused on D. Finds his way into passing lanes a lot.
Nolan Smith has a high basketball IQ when it comes to defense. Can pressure ball-handlers well. Plays passing lanes exceptionally as well.