Paul Pierce … best defensive player in the NBA

Was just watching and saw a live Celtics’ practice with a series of informative interviews by different team personnel.

In his segment with Cedric Maxwell & Rick Kamla … Celtics’ GM, Danny Ainge, just made a statement which would, IMO, simply astound the vast majority of NBA aficionados who are active on the internet but … in reality … have NO CLUE WHATSOEVER re: the intricacies of the NBA game, when it comes to assessing correctly who can really play at what position effectively [and in what specific way] in the world’s best basketball league.

Here it is for you to consider for yourself:


“According to some defensive stuff [i.e. internal Boston Celtics’ coaching staff statistics which are not available for public consumption] we keep track of … Paul Pierce was the best defensive player in the League last year.”Danny Ainge


Now … if this corner was to ever suggest that Danny Ainge’s statement was, in fact, even remotely close to being ‘the Truth’ … it would incur the wrath of an assortment of rabid Raptors fans who get heated when they read what’s written by yours truly, from time to time, but who really don’t know what to look for when they’re watching a NBA game and assessing the skills of NBA players, Offensively, Defensively & in terms of Rebounding.

In general, the type of stats you’ll find on popular sites like are a waste of time, when it comes to understanding properly how things work in the NBA.

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5 Responses to “Paul Pierce … best defensive player in the NBA”

  1. Raps Fan Says:

    i’d be interested to see those stats ainge speaks of. based on what i saw last season, a case could be made for top 5. he actually surprised me with his defense. sadly, it seems that defense is a matter of motivation as much as skill. very few players have that need to want to dominate that end of the floor.

  2. khandor Says:

    Raps Fan,

    As a small sample …

    some defensive items of note would include, at least, the following:

    i) deflections
    ii) penetrations allowed (via either pass or dribble)
    iii) contested [i.e. effected] vs uncontested [i.e. uneffected] shot attempts
    iv) correctly vs incorrectly identified ‘help’ situations
    v) correct ‘help’ reactions
    vi) correct ‘help the helper’ reactions
    vii) defensive transition miscues
    viii) grading on specific defensive assignments/manoeuvres [e.g. proper positioning on individual check when stationary or on the move, with or without a screen] and designated rotations [e.g. on cover downs or double-teams or when dealing with different pick scenarios]
    ix) rebounding situations properly identified & executed
    x) etc.

    The type of basic stuff you get on a site like … pales in comparison, to the type of highly detailed information kept on a regular basis by the coaching staffs of the very best defensive outfits in the NBA.

  3. Raps Fan Says:

    sorry khandor, i wasn’t clear on what i said. i was interested to see the actual stats ainge had on pierce, not the categories (although a couple of the ones you listed hadn’t occured to me).

    i wonder if there is a resource a blogger could tap into to get that sort of information?

  4. Dave Says:

    I imagine the stats are similar to the one’s used by Ainge when lobbying KG for DpoY. You won’t get the figures for Paul but you could get a description of the stats used … if that’s any interest to you …. by checking back on some of the articles at the time. I think Truehoop ran the stats Danny was using in the campaign.

  5. jonny Says:

    the only problem with that assumption is that the celtics don’t have the same information about other top DPOY candidates.

    so to be fair to the celtics, it’s a true statement. . .

    but only so far as they know

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