Defense is a mindset; something you embrace as a unit, and something that you must embrace with full enthusiasm and responsibility. There’s a psychological edge that comes from taking pride on the defensive side of the ball that a team who doesn’t do it simply doesn’t have.
Some teams have a standout defensive player, but their team identity doesn’t mirror the effort of said guy. In other cases, there’s a team with a player who can transform the mentality of his team and catapult them all the way to the championship. The teams who have neither aren’t worth a damn, and the fact that they play no defense eventually bites them in the butt.
Think about it like this: a team that is identified as offensive-minded isn’t one that’s seen as scary. Yeah, they’re fun to watch and all, but they don’t terrify you, and why is that? It’s because their offense, as great as it is, comes at the expense of their defense. On top of that, when their offense goes to hell, they can forget it about winning anything.
Look at the Knicks and Magic as prime examples. Both of those teams have the defensive mindset of a fire ant, a box of Oreos, and a microphone stand, and look where they’re at: the Knicks are out of the playoffs, and the Magic aren’t too far behind. Their offense has gone to the wayside, and neither team can guard the front door of a club no one goes to.
They don’t play one semblance, one shred, one iota, one lick of defense. They’re deplorable on that side of the ball. They’re despicable. They’re despondent. They’re disgraceful. They’re disgusting, and for those reasons, it’s why they have no chance of winning the NBA Championship as presently constructed. No chance in hell.
On the other hand, teams that make it a priority to make defense their identity have a legitimate shot to win the championship. Boston has shown that for the past several seasons, and it’s why they will always be in the running to win the whole thing.
Miami is similar, in the sense that they let their defense dictate the rest of their game. Even the Lakers, when they feel like it, have that sort of impact on the defensive end of the floor. Chicago also plays great D, which is a reason why they are viewed as a favorite to possibly win it, too.
All one has to do is look at the teams who have won the championship in the past 7-8 years, and they were all excellent defensive teams or had a player who was known for being an intimidator of that side of the ball. The Pistons, Spurs, Heat, Celtics, and Lakers all had either one or both of these, and for the life of me, I’ll never understand why more teams don’t realize that defense wins championships. It’s really that simple.
Yes, it’s known that taking charges, moving your feet on defense, calling out picks, and rotating on the court is excruciating to even some of the most die-hard basketball fans, but to ones who love defense, all those things are more crucial to winning than anything else. As the playoffs progress, the proof will once again be in the pudding and whoever ends up making the most noise will also be the one who emphasizes defense and its importance to getting the job done.
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