In a season that has so far produced two 13-game winning streaks, a 19-game losing streak and seven coaching changes, the one constant has been tenacious defense. We polled the coach or an assistant from each of the 29 teams to determine the D merits—and in some cases, demerits—of players and schemes around the league. The respondents were granted anonymity in exchange for their candor.
Three starters whose defense you like to exploit:
Glenn Robinson, 76ers 6
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks 5
Shaquille O'Neal, Lakers 5
"[The Bulls'] Jalen Rose is not a good positional defender and not a good situational defender. The kicker is he doesn't care either."
Three players not known for their defense but who are good defenders:
Andre Kirilenko, Jazz 5
James Posey, Grizzlies 3
Kurt Thomas, Knicks 3
"[The Timberwolves'] Sam Cassell and [the Mavericks'] Steve Nash also do a really good job of keeping guys in front of them."
Defender who forces your team to make the most adjustments:
Shaquille O'Neal, Lakers 6
Ben Wallace, Pistons 5
Kevin Garnett, T-Wolves 3
"You just don't draw up a play for the guy Kevin Garnett is guarding."