Basketball is all about scoring more points than your opponent, and in order to do that, you’re going to need to basic tools: Defense and a lot of firepower from deep, especially in this fast-paced up-tempo kind of play all teams feature nowadays.
Having lockdown defenders in your team is a huge boost for any squad, and those player that are always hustling and trying to take the best out their offensive repertoires are great assets every coach wants to have in their ranks.
And if those good defenders can also score from deep, well even better, although not so many players are able to master both aspects of this game. Today, we’re going to let you know the best 3 and D players in the league.
10. Wesley Matthews
It seems like Wesley Matthews is finally getting his groove back and he looks quite similar to the player he was during his Portland Trail Blazers stint, currently shooting almost 45% from beyond the arc in almost 6 attempts from deep per game. Besides, he’s got great lateral speed and very good hands, and he’s a great backcourt stopper and complement for a young Dennis Smith Jr that’s still making the adjustment to the league.
9. Avery Bradley
Avery Bradley is considered to be one of the best defenders in the Association right now, at least by his peers, and his ability to play multiple positions and guard as much as three spots is going to get him a lot of cash this upcoming offseason. So far, he’s shooting a career-high 42% from three-point territory to go along with 1.1 steals per game.
8. Patrick Beverley
We already know Patrick Beverley’s one of the fiercest and craftiest defenders in the Association, and he’s got the kind of skillset that can completely lock down the best point guards in the world with that suffocating trash talking and extremely quick hands. Leading the way for the Los Angeles Clippers, he’s stripping almost a couple of balls per game while also shooting 40% from three.
7. Danny Green
Danny Green has always been a guy that’s able to get hot in a heartbeat with his streaky and unorthodox shooting, and he’s a career 40% shooter from three-point territory. But what makes him even more valuable is his ability to stop fast breaks and defend opposing guards and wings, creating a huge defensive association alongside the best defender in the world: Kawhi Leonard.
6. Trevor Ariza
Trevor Ariza has always been a major factor in all of his teams, as he’s just automatic from the corners and is also one of the most talented defenders in the league. The 2008-09 NBA Champion has averaged at least 1.2 steals per game for a very long time now, and he’s always a threat to leave open when James Harden decides to attack the lane.
5. Robert Covington
Robert Covington just doesn’t get the recognition he deserves from the Philadelphia 76ers because he has to share the locker room with Joel Embiid, Markelle Fultz, Dario Saric and Ben Simmons, but he’s one of the most productive all-around players in the league this season. This year, the forward is shooting 50% from three-point territory to go along with 16.1 points, 5.8 boards, 1.3 dimes and 1.5 steals per game.
4. Chris Paul
Chris Paul is well known for his playmaking abilities, but he hasn't made 9 All-Defensive squads out of anywhere. Paul has extremely good and soft hands to just strip the ball from his opponents hands, and he’s one of the best two-way players in the league. Throughout his career, CP3 has posted averages of 18.7 points, 9.9 dimes and 2.3 steals, always being among the league leaders in those last two regards. Besides, he’s a career 37% shooter from three.
3. Klay Thompson
One of the splash brothers has to make this list, as Klay Thompson is an outstanding and underrated backcourt defender, and he always takes Curry’s man to make up for Steph’s defensive flaws. Besides, we all know Klay can get hot in a second and he’s one of the best shooters in the game, hitting in 45% of his 8 attempts from deep per game. He always makes his opponent force shots, even though he’s never averaged much steals or blocks per game.
2. Kawhi Leonard
According to Michael Jordan himself, Kawhi Leonard is the best two way player in the world, and we have to say we agree with His Royal Airness. Leonard has huge hands and can lock down the best scorers in the world on a nightly basis, while also having the ability to put up 30 points with great ease. Leonard has vastly improved his shooting skills, almost reaching the 40% mark from beyond the arc to go along with 1.8 steals per game.
1. Kevin Durant
And our best three and D player has to be Kevin Durant, as he’s one of the smoothest shooters in the Association and has grown to be an elite rim protector for the Golden State Warriors, currently leading them in the blocked shots department with 2.5 swats per contest. Durant is an outstanding scorer and so skilled and versatile for his height, and he’s shooting over 46% from beyond the arc in his second season as a member of the Golden State Warriors.