NBA / Jan 12, 2010 / 3:01 pm

The Defense Rests

Jamal Crawford

When they weren’t busy complaining about the refs and conveniently turning their heads whenever the Celtics committed a foul, Boston announcers Tommy Heinsohn and Mike Gorman were actually pretty funny during last night’s Hawks/Celtics game when they turned their attention to slaughtering Jamal Crawford for his, um, less than stellar defense.

In the first half, Heinsohn pointed out that whoever Crawford was guarding was attacking the basket at will. “Well, they should,” Gorman quipped. In the second half, Heinsohn said, “[Crawford] couldn’t guard anything if you gave him a rifle and put him outside Buckingham Palace.”

Having followed JC since high school, I know defense isn’t exactly his strong suit — he gets paid to get buckets — but I wouldn’t say he’s the worst defender out there. But who is? If I had to make a starting five of starting-caliber players who need to attend the Reggie Geary Basketball Camp, it would be:

PG — Jose Calderon, Raptors
A reader recently commented that the Raps would be better off playing a 4-on-5 zone rather than going 5-on-5 with Calderon on the court. Sadly, (1) I’m pretty sure they weren’t joking, and (2) I almost believed it when I read it. Last week I watched Jay Triano sub out for Calderon for defensive purposes with two seconds left and the Raptors ahead by four while shooting free throws. Coach doesn’t trust him at all.

SG — Allen Iverson, Sixers
I was going to give this spot to Crawford because I figured at least A.I. battles when he’s on the wrong end of a mismatch and he gets steals, but it turns out JC has actually been more prolific (albeit barely) in creating turnovers this season, swiping 0.84 balls next to Iverson’s 0.73 per game. Philly opponents typically look to take advantage of Iverson right away; the Cavs even tried to get Anthony Parker off against A.I. before reverting to the standard “Pass It To ‘Bron” game plan.

SF — Peja Stojakovic, Hornets
Peja also gets the Iverson treatment. Whoever the Hornets play, they’ll identify whoever Peja is guarding and see how badly they can exploit the mismatch. New Orleans hasn’t been trying to hand Julian Wright the starting SF job because Wright can do pretty dunks; it’s because he has a chance to be at least a decent defender.

PF — Antawn Jamison, Wizards
No one’s questioning his ability to get buckets and boards, but Jamison is proof that there’s more to the game than stats. On offense, he plays like he doesn’t know the time or score, running heat checks with 1:30 to go in the fourth quarter of a close game. On defense, he plays like it’s a morning shootaround.

C — Juwan Howard, Blazers
By all means, he shouldn’t even be playing as much as he is, but injuries to Portland’s front line have forced Howard into a starting role. He’s good for knocking down some mid-range jumpers if you leave him open and is smart enough to know what he should do defensively, he’s just not physically able to keep up.

Position-by-position, who would make up your All-No Defense Team?

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  • the cynic

    replace Howard with Bargnani

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    No JJ Reddick. I’m sure AI is better than JJ Reddick at defense. Also I would like to give shout outs to JR Smith, Mike Dunleavy, Steve Nash, Corey Maghette, Ben Gordon, and the worst of them all, and should easily have been #1 on your list (Juan Howard at least was a good defender before)


  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    @#1, Oh yeah I forgot about Andrea. He’s teeerrrrriblllleeee at defense.

  • flipisatrip

    Howard needs an elixir not work on his D

  • the cynic

    Reddick is solid defender, just because he has no athletic ability doesn’t mean he doesn’t play solid position defense(of course having Dwight behind you helps)

  • http://twitter.com/therealknowbody GABRIEL BROGDEN

    Ben Gordon thinks ‘D’ is only a letter and he hates alphabets.

  • drew

    i nominate calderon for the WDPOY (worst defensive player of the year).

    honourable mention to 6-10 turkoglu who cannot guard my grandmother if his life depended on it.

  • The other Aj

    How do you not have any other wizards on this list…just pick one, anyone. They are pathetic on D.

  • sh!tfaced

    Jose “The Matador” Calderon.

  • @

    Reddick is not a “starting-caliber” player.

    I agree that Howard deserves a break, because as mentioned, he knows how to play D, he’s just old. Plus, he’s not really “starting-caliber” either…. just thrown in there because of the injuries.

  • star_bury

    Michael Re. He doesn’t deserve either of the “d”s in his name. I still feel bad about his knee though….

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    @the cynic

    please tell me you were making a sad attempt at humor. No f^king way you truely believe JJ reddick is a “solid defender”. I have two bad knees and haven’t played ball in a few months and I bet I can give JJ the business. He has YMCA D. If he didn’t have a shot blocker behind him, he’d never get in the game.

  • TIP

    If I were to make an All-No defence team, Calderon would be the coach.

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    who would coach such a team?
    Mike D’Antoni or Don Nelson?!!?

  • Diego

    I’d say Bibby these days is every NBA young point guard’s dream defender. There is a reason he didn’t seem much PT last night.

  • control

    I’m a hardcore die hard Raps fan. Jose has to be the worse defender in the league, and maybe in any professional league world wide. The guy pretty much rolls out the red carpet for guys, and then does these weird Spanish faces at the bigs behind him when his guy scores…like they should KNOW he ain’t gonna do shit to stop anyone. Jose would be lit up in Church and Rec center leagues I’ve played in, he would be hearing it from homeless people coming in from the cold at the Y. It’s disgusting.


    That is what happens when Jose TRIES to play defense…

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla


    @says, ok i missed the starting caliber part. So JJ is excused. But the rest of those guys aren’t, they are starting caliber

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    LOL is this um, the same Jose that folks were going bonkers over because he “supposedly” got snubbed off the All-Star list?

    I am talking it used to be a nice gang of commentors on here declaring his reign and how he was the best thing since the ped-egg.

    I was tryna put dudes on game then, that he wasn’t get snubbed he just wasn’t that good. Amazing how things change with time.

    AB is it really fair to count some of the older cats cause they can’t keep up? I mean A.I. and Howard were not playing All-Star D when they could keep up but still lol. I think some younger cats deserve those spots that can’t use old age as an excuse.

    Nash AKA “The Usher” cause he escorts dudes into the lane so they can score.

    Ben AKA “Imma let you hurry and shoot so we can rebound and I can go shoot on the other end” cause he lets dudes shoot so he can hurry and get his numbers lol.

    J.J. AKA “The NBA sucks” he just prays he doesn’t get called back to the bench early when he is out there so his mind is more on hitting shots than playing d.

    Charlie V..no AKA he just don’t play D lol.

  • control


    Jose is a great offensive guard, and still better than most at playmaking. This year it looks like his major injury was in the fucking head, not his hamstring, legs, or wtf he was out with. He seems like he just ain’t focused, and he ain’t even trying to play D at all. If Toronto had a Dwight down on the blocks, it wouldn’t be a big deal at all really, but they don’t. They have two of the softest inside players you can imagine.

    I think if Jose was on Orlando, he would be an All Star. The guy’s game matches Orlando, or someone like Boston almost perfectly…it just doesn’t fit well in Toronto with their other players. He needs to dominate the ball to start things going, and he slowly walks the ball up to set up plays. Toronto is built for speed, and has Hedo who needs to dominate the ball to setup plays and be effective.

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    word. tell them punk ass boston playcallers that jamal crawford aint in the lineup to D-up and get stops. he’s on the court to do this:

  • the cynic


    maybe a better way of putting it would be, Reddick is at least always hustling on D and I can’t trash somebody who is giving the effort.

    I think Calderon is the worst defensive player of the decade

  • http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/ProphetGK ProphetGK

    At least now Jose’s coming off the bench, were playing much better… even though we lost a 23 pt lead…

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    the ALL NO DEFENSE (1st & 2nd) TEAM:

    Steve Nash (baron davis too?)
    Monta Ellis/Vince Carter/Kevin Martin (take your pick)
    Tracy McGrady/Peja Stojakovic
    Rashard Lewis/Antawn Jamison
    Eddy Curry/Shaq

  • quest???

    susbtitue allen iverson for jj barea

  • Yoooo

    Redick plays D. Did a very good job on kobe last year… and I’m a tar heel/laker fan

    Derek fisher is the nba piňata. EVERYBODY be busting that ass

  • geoff

    why do ppl think that Bargs is a bad defender..? it must be that they dont watch basketball. He is good for more then 2 blocks a game now and his 1 on 1 D is at the very least ‘good’, and its improving. he is SO far from being the top 5 worst defenders in the league. @ cynic, and chicagorilla – you are dumb.

  • Yucca Man

    Carlos Boozer is the worst interior defensive player I’ve seen in my life. His signature when someone drives into the lane is to shout “Memo, HELP!”

    And when you consider what Memo Okur’s D is like, you realize how awful Boozer must be to ask him, of all people, to save his butt.

  • http://twitter.com/PoppiGEE POPPI GEE

    @ control “Jose is a great offensive guard,”

    You lost me at great lol.

  • QQ

    Even the virtual Peja in NBA live can’t play defense. That’s how bad he is.

  • the cynic

    So i’m dumb because i don’t think Bargs plays any defense? I’m not sure i understand, i didn’t think saying Bargs doesn’t play any defense was that outrageous

  • pdxballer

    i dont think you can put howard on there. i watch all the blazers games and i cant say ive ever thought that howard cant keep up. he may be old and not physically able to be a great defender, but i dont think he deserves a spot on the all-NBA no-defense team. id replace him with eddy curry (or someone else im probably forgetting)

  • OneZero

    Amare Stoudamire? I like him tho..

    or maybe Dirk

    or Z-Bo

    btw, u guys think Yao is a good defender?just curious

  • dc

    d-fish is a solid defender, same argument as others saying that he’s just slower because of age, d-fish was an above average defender for most of his career

  • BAY


    are you kidding me how the heck does monta ellis have bad defense when he’s been bottling up opponents like Brandon Roy to their season lows night in and night out even in a run & gun nellie ball system.. He deserves to be in the all star game because is 3rd in the league in scoring among guards (Kobe and Wade) and how is baron davis a bad defender he has the best defense of any PG in the league

  • ballin

    I love all the people above me mentioning the obligatory white people, mostly because they’re white or they’ve had a bad rep for D in the past.

    If you’ve watched and Orlando game AT ALL recently, you’d realize the JJ was actually a good defender. This became obvious in the playoffs when he did a better job on Kobe than anybody else on the team (check the shooting stats, ESPN wrote an article about it as well).

    Also, Turokglu isn’t a bad defender. He doesn’t have the fastest foot speed but he’s lengthy and he uses good footwork to stay with his man. Not a great defender, but definitely shouldn’t even be in this discussion.

    Not to mention, Dirk has shaped up to be a halfway decent defender over the last couple years. Basically, he’s only known as a bad defender as a holdover from his “soft” days a few years ago and because he didn’t win a championship.

    Barrea is of the few guards that are quick enough to stick with guys like Tony Parker. He draws tons of charges. He’s short, but his quickness is more important since he’s guarding pg’s. He’s average at least.

    That said, feel free to rip Calderon, Nash, and Bargnani because they truly are terrible.

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    you idiots who think JJ Reddick is even a remotely good defender must either be related to JJ, or have blown him several times before. and some idiot says because ESPN wrote an article on it, it makes it official. The fact that you are even following Reddick that closely proves that you are a jag-off.

    Oh and it has nothing to do with any of the players being white or black. JJ is terrible even if he is orange or green. So is Hedo and Calderon. I mention Maghette (Black), Ben Gordon (Black and born in Great Briton), Charlie V(Dominican and Black), and JR Smith(Black) so don’t try to pull that BS about it being whites only.

    Oh and in the meantime playa “go F^k yaseeeellllfff”

  • Shakers

    Al Jefferson would be a better addition at center than Howard. Big Al just isn’t getting it.

  • ryan

    Derek Fisher is a terrible defender the lakers need a new point guard cuz him an farmar are terrible. Farmar is an idiot.

  • http://Dime Celt4life

    As much As I don’t like JJ (Sorry chicagorilla)he stuck to ray allen last year pretty good (of course it was after the chicargo series) and did do a ok job on Kobe (when he was tired)

  • soothsayer

    What made those comments even funnier was the second half of the game where Crawfords DEFENSE caused the Celtics fits and then Crawford buried them and defender extraordinaire Rondo in the closing minutes.

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla


    first i’d like to say I hate your current Celtics! lol. Nah seriously, JJ Reddick is not a good defender and here is why. JJ can crowd opponents and get in their jersy when Dwight f^king Howard is behind him because that Player will pull up for a jumper 90% of the time. When Dwight isn’t behing him and it’s Gortat or Bass, or Lewis, or Hedo(last year), he ain’t pulling that $h!t. He gets torched by scrubs…SCRUBS. JJ also can chase Ray Allen off screens all day because Dwight is at the rim stopping Ray from Curling around the screen and forcing him to flare out, which allows JJ to catch if Ray doesn’t shoot it. JJ has two of the slowest feet you will ever see and his reaction time is terrible. Ask Kobe who he thinks is the better defender, Michael Pietris or JJ Reddick. Twitter him or something.