Both offense and defense are important. However, we believe that defense can be under-emphasized at times. Here are some reasons that we believe that defense should be emphasized and a priority at every practice. Can you help us come up with more reasons?
It's Something You (Coaches) Can Control
Defense is something that you can more easily control on the basketball court.
You can't always control how many three point shots fall in the basket, BUT you can control the intensity, effort, and execution of your basketball defense.
NCAA & NBA Champions Play Great Defense
When you think about it, almost every championship basketball team at the college and professional level had a great man to man defense...
Just look at the last 9 NBA champions and their Opponents PPP (Points per Possession):
- 2012 - Miami Heat - 4th Regular Season, 5th in Playoffs
- 2011 - Dallas Mavericks - 7th in Regular Season, 9th in Playoffs
- 2010 - LA Lakers - 5th in Regular Season, 7th in Playoffs
- 2009 - LA Lakers - 5th in Regular Season, 2nd in Playoffs
- 2008 Boston Celtics - 2nd in Regular Season, 2nd in Playoffs
- 2007 San Antonio Spurs - 1st in Regular Season, 4th in Playoffs
- 2006 Miami Heat - 10th in regular season, 2nd in Playoffs
- 2005 San Antonio Spurs - 3rd in Regular Season, 2nd in Playoffs
- 2004 Detroit Pistons - 1st in Regular Season, 1st in Playoffs
All of the teams were the top in the NBA in regards to defense. The only two that were not elite defenses were the 2010 and 2011 champions. However, they were still VERY good defenses and you would have noticed that their 3 Pt. FG defense was elite (1st and 3rd).
The Last 5 Men's NCAA College Champions....
This is according to the adjusted Defensive Efficiency calculated by Ken Pomeroy. Since the NCAA has nearly 350 teams, all of these teams ranked in the top 95 percentile of teams.
- 2013 - Louisville - 1st
- 2012 - Kentucky - 9th
- 2011 - Connecticut - 14th
- 2010 - Duke - 4th
- 2009 - North Carolina - 16th
*** We did not list women's stats as they were harder to collect.
Quickest Way for You To Get Competitive
Besides recruiting players, developing a great defense is the quickest way for you to develop a competitive team. This is why so many coaches emphasize defense at the beginning of the season and try to develop it as quickly as possible. They know that you can develop a great defense a lot quicker than offensive skills. Anyone can play defense.
Gives You Consistency
Defense will keep you in games on those bad shooting nights.
Great Defense Leads to Easy Offensive Opportunities
One of the best ways to score easy baskets is to fast break. What leads to fast breaks? Defensive rebounds and turnovers. So it doesn't matter if you're a pressing team that forces more turnovers or a pack-line style defense that forces contested outside shots that lead to rebounds. Playing great defense will lead to more offense.
Tough Defense Improves Defensive Rebounding
If your players are constantly getting beat off the dribble and are out of position defensively, they can't box-out effectively. This leads to open lanes for offensive players to run freely down the lane, grab rebounds, and lay in easy baskets.
If players contain the dribble and rotate quickly to the proper defensive position, this will lead to more defensive rebounds which means less points for your opponent and more points for you via fast breaks.
Anyone Can Play Defense
Even if you can only get a couple football players out for your team, you can still compete and teach those kids to play defense. You can take role players with no skill and allow them to contribute to the team by focusing on defense. This gives you a lot of flexibility as a coach.
What else are we missing? What are some other reasons to focus on defense?