Have the Clippers become the best defensive team in the NBA?
Patrick Beverley, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Is there a better defensive group in the NBA? The Los Angeles Clippers may have become the best defensive team in the league.
The Los Angeles Clippers won the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes, pulling the Finals MVP away from the Toronto Raptors in free agency. With the signing of Kawhi, the Clippers are getting a superstar. Leonard is no ordinary superstar, though. He may be the best two way player in the game, if not the best player in the league right now.
Kawhi, a two-time defensive player of the year and five time All-NBA defender (Three first-team and two second team), joins another defensive star as a member of the Clippers. Shortly after acquiring Leonard in free agency, the Clippers made a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder to acquire MVP candidate Paul George. PG has been one of the best defenders in the NBA since he entered the league back in 2010. George may not be a winner of two defensive player of the year awards, but he is a four-time All-NBA defender (Two first-team and two second-team). George also led the NBA in steals last season, averaging 2.2 per game.
With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the same team, the Clippers are going to be a defensive force. Wait, they’re not the only All-NBA defenders the Clippers have. Patrick Beverley has also earned multiple All-NBA defensive team awards during his career, earning one first-team and one second-team award. The Clippers have not one, not two, but three All-NBA defenders in their starting five.
Here we’re going to take a look at where the Clippers ranked defensively last season. With Patrick Beverley leading the way, the Clippers ranked 19th in defensive rating (110.4) last season. Clearly, he needed a little bit of help, which he didn’t get. Don’t worry Patrick, help is on the way!
By adding Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, the Clippers have added the defensive leaders for two of last season’s top five defensive rated teams. Paul George led OKC to a defensive rating of 106.5, which ranked fourth in the NBA. Kawhi Leonard led the Toronto Raptors to a defensive rating of 106.8, which ranked fifth in the NBA. The best defensive players from two of the top five defensive teams are coming to join Patrick Beverley in his defensive efforts.
With three All-NBA defenders, the Clippers will be able to guard any lineup opposing teams throw at them. Patrick Beverley will primarily guard point guards, but he can hold his own against pretty much any position on the floor. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can guard any position on the floor. With these three guys on the floor at the same time, it’ll make it very tough for opposing teams to come up with an offensive game plan to get by this defense.
Overnight, the Los Angeles Clippers went from the 19th ranked defense, to a defense that will most likely rank first in the NBA when it’s all said and done next season. Top five at least! With defense, comes championships, and the Clippers are surely going to be competing for one during the postseason.