How many young kids do you see today taking the challenge? It’s one thing to be able to score but it’s another to be able to stop the best player on the floor.
Playing defense is fun! It’s all about embracing the challenge and getting after it. There’s nothing more that I love better than trying to stop the best player on the floor. It brings out the competitiveness in me.
It’s truly enjoyable. The excitement in getting into his jersey and doing my best to deny him the ball. And even when he gets it, trying to do my best to make him uncomfortable and let him know I’m not letting up.
I watch Stephen Curry play wishing I had just one chance to play defense against him. The rugged challenge of fighting through and following him off every screen and playing on-ball defense against him and knowing that once he passes the ball, he’s going to keep running to try and get it back is fun. Not to forget that you have to try to contest the best shooter in the league following all of that. What gets more exciting than that?
Players are too worried about getting embarrassed today. Instead of trying to lock a player down they’re worried about being the latest trend on Twitter for getting their ankles broken.
However, they have to know that’s what comes with the game. The best player to ever do it got crossed… that’s just the game. Michael Jordan got crossed… Let that sink in.
It doesn’t exclude the best defensive players either. One of the best defenders the league has seen in Gary Payton talked about his rookie season when Jordan welcomed him to the NBA.
The guys that lock up get a different type of respect in the league. Guys like Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, Marcus Smart, and Kawhi Leonard are well respected because of what they do on defense.
I want to tell the kids, embrace the challenge. Play defense and accept the challenge of not letting your player score. You have to know that great scorers are going to score but you have to do your best to not let that happen. It takes the basketball experience to new heights. The game is played on both ends and as much as you want to score, you should want to stop your opponent just as much.