Damian Lillard Ranks Jrue Holiday as NBA's Best Guard Defender over Pat Beverley

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistAugust 5, 2020

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) drives to the basket as New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (11) defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Rusty Costanza)
Rusty Costanza/Associated Press

In the debate over which guard in the NBA plays the best defense, Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard believes one player stands above the rest. 

Appearing on JJ Redick's The Old Man & The Three podcast, Lillard called New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday "the best defender in the league" among all guards.

There are no shortage of excellent defensive guards in the league. Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons, who leads the NBA with 2.1 steals per game this season, is unique because his 6'10" frame allows him to defend virtually every position on the court. 

Among traditional guards, Patrick Beverley of the Los Angeles Clippers is generally regarded as a defensive stopper. His shining moment this season was stripping the ball away from LeBron James in the final seconds of the Clippers' 111-106 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day. 

Holiday isn't lacking for recognition as a top-tier defender. The Pelicans star was named to the All-Defense first team after the 2017-18 season and the second team after the 2018-19 season. His 40.4 field goal percentage allowed in 2019-20 ranks fourth among all guards with at least 50 games played. 

Beverley is allowing opponents to shoot 41 percent from the field; Simmons is giving up a 42.3 field-goal percentage. 

Each of them is a great defensive player in his own right, but Lillard's assessment that Holiday ranks as the best certainly holds a lot of water based on the resume he's built throughout his career.