LeBron James is one of the best defenders in the NBA, but he never won NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.
In the last few years, I think that he improves himself as a defender and he is the underrated player when we talking about defense.
Someone will say - but he already has 5× NBA All-Defensive First Team (2009–2013).
Yes, he has that, but in the last two years he become a better defensive player and he is not even in the All-Defensive First Team.
Last two years we had: Chris Paul, Tony Allen, Kawhi Leonard, Draymond Green and DeAndre Jordan (2015) and same lineup last season, but instead of Tony Allen we had Avery Bradley.
Kawhi Leonard is a great defensive player and maybe the best two-way player in the NBA, but LeBron is also one of the best.
Draymond Green played like center last season, and LeBron deserved to be in the All-Defensive First Team last year more than Avery Bradley or DeAndre Jordan.
He’s a force on the defensive end when engaged, even at 31. He finished 13th in Defensive Win Shares this year (ahead of guys like Tim Duncan, Rudy Gobert, Pau Gasol and Kyle Lowry). He’s become more of a last line of defense type player, as opposed to getting out in front of guys on the perimeter, but it’s still mightily effective for the Cavaliers, as evidenced by their winning an NBA Championship against the historically good (from a regular season standpoint) Golden State Warriors.
Something that has remained consistent about LeBron is his ability to make reads. That much is clear when he’s able to anticipate when to jump to block shots, or even time things out when he’s trying to do one of his signature chasedowns. What sometimes will go unnoticed is his ability to strip the ball clean. I’m not talking about his getting in the passing lanes (which he is also very good at), I’m talking about his ability to see a player coming down the lane and turning his body so he has the right angle to swipe at the ball. Poking the ball lose isn’t something that’s going to register as a steal or a block all the time (especially not HIS steal or block), but deflections disrupt rhythm and defenses thrive on that.
This is obviously a video about his regular season exploits. Yes, of course, I will have his playoff defense in a separate video.
Check the video below. And remember one thing: LeBron James never won a Defensive Player of the Year Award.