2018-19 NBA All-Defensive Team: Power rankings for guards
Perimeter players are the lifeblood of basketball teams. The best teams in the league today are invariably the ones that have the best swingmen. This has been true ever since the 1980's following Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's retirement and the rise of the phenomenon that was Michael Jordan.
The most elite swingmen today handle a wide variety of tasks on both ends of the floor as the NBA continues its move towards a future of positionless basketball. Small-ball a.k.a Death Lineups are the order of the day, and teams like the Houston Rockets, the Warriors and the Celtics are able to field lineups with 3-4 wing players without losing a beat on the offensive end, or defensively.
The following ranking will focus on the players' ability to guard star offensive players, switch on to the toughest assignment on the night and make a difference. Bonus points have been handed out to players with the ability to guard multiple positions.
Note: Players who have played 20 games or less this season, or are averaging less than 20 minutes per game are ineligible.
#5 Danny Green
The Raptors have had to deal with injuries to 2 key frontcourt players over the past several weeks, which means their defensive showings this season haven't been as impressive as they could've been. They're still, however, ranked amongst the top 10 teams by defensive rating per 100 possessions in addition to other NBA team defensive stats, and a big part of that is their dynamic defensive duo of Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard.
'Wing Stop' - as the duo have been sobriqueted in the past, are the peskiest perimeter defensive swingmen in the league - bar none. While Green's defense wasn't at its best last year with San Antonio due to knee injuries that he later revealed he had on his 'Inside the Green Room' podcast (do check that one out, that's a good one), fitness is no longer a concern this season.
This shows in his approach to the game this season. Danny has always been an amazing transition defender, often guarding 2 players by himself on the break. He's also adept at contesting jumpshots, layups and even runners without fouling, and this season, he's been an ever-present whenever available.
Green boasts of the best defensive rating on the team (among players with significant minutes) at 102.8, and is no. 1 among shooting guards in Defensive Real Plus Minus (courtesy of ESPN).
Note: All statistics quoted in this article have been obtained from stats.nba.com unless stated otherwise