Ranking NBA's Top 10 Defenders Through First Half of 2020-21

by Josh Cohen

OrlandoMagic.com’s Josh Cohen ranks his top 10 defenders so far this season (through games before March 4). Click through this slideshow for full rankings and analysis.

Note: The contents of this gallery have not been reviewed or endorsed by the Orlando Magic and do not reflect the opinions of the Magic’s Basketball Operations staff, partners or sponsors.

#10 Matisse Thybulle

It’s no surprise that Thybulle, a two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year while at the University of Washington, made this list. He has the entire defensive package – length, instincts, timing, and lateral quickness. Opponents, many of whom are dynamic and crafty scorers, have been limited when the 24-year-old has been the primary on-ball defender. Zach LaVine and Kemba Walker, for example, each went 2-of-10 earlier this season when Thybulle was the closest defender, per Second Spectrum tracking data, while LaMelo Ball missed all five of his shot attempts.

Others warranting consideration for this list include Mike Conley Jr., Lu Dort, Michael Carter-Williams, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Draymond Green, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Mikal Bridges, Chris Paul, Lonzo Ball, Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala, Tyus Jones and OG Anunoby.

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