Ranking NBA’s Top 10 Defenders in 2020-21 Season

by Josh Cohen

OrlandoMagic.com’s Josh Cohen ranks his top 10 defenders this season (through games before April 30). 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 Jakob Poeltl

Dejounte Murray, Poeltl’s teammate, is probably the more likely Spur to make an All-Defensive Team this year based on the fact that he’s third in the NBA in steals. But, after diving a bit deeper into some numbers, it’s Poeltl who might be the more deserving of the two. Opponents have shot just 49.2 percent on attempts within six feet of the basket with the San Antonio big man guarding. That is the third best mark behind Rudy Gobert’s 48.5 percent and Myles Turner’s 48.7 percent among players who have been the nearest defender to at least 400 shots from this short range. On shots less than 10 feet away, opponents have connected on just 46.5 percent of their tries when Poeltl has been the closest defender, also third best.

Other players deserving a mention on this list include Jimmy Butler, Clint Capela, Matisse Thybulle, Lu Dort, Jrue Holiday, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Beverley, Aaron Gordon, OG Anunoby, Marcus Smart, Anthony Davis, Dennis Schroder, Dorian Finney-Smith, Chris Paul, Mikal Bridges, Nerlens Noel, Larry Nance Jr., Mike Conley, Michael Carter-Williams and Lonzo Ball.

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