Ayt wrote:Regardless, he's a **** monster defensively. I think he's already good enough to be considered a top 10 defensive player in the game. His impact defensively is immense. All he needs to do is cut down on his fouls.
This is where we need to be a little bit careful imo. I don't want to sound like I'm down on Larry, I'm not. I'm a big fan of his and am one of the very few that has been all the way along, but he's getting overrated defensively.
He's probably the best shotblocker in the game. He's ridiculously long, ridiculously athletic and he jumps at pretty much everything - he blocks a ton of shots and alters a heap more - but he ranges anywhere between competent and freaking awful on the floor defensively depending on his matchup.
The last 5 games his starting opponents have put up 91 points and 56 rebounds on 58% from the field. That's 18/11 at almost 60% from the field by a bunch of guys who combined average about 65 points/47 rebounds on 49% from the field - or 13/9 - so as a group his last 5 opponents are about 5 points and 2 rebounds above their season averages on 9% better from the field.
Not all of those points have been scored against Larry of course, but plenty have. Pretty sure Gortat scored 14 of his 16 on Larry tonight on 90% ish. Duncan in particular straight up made him his bitch last week, Hibbert's a 9/8 guy this season and Larry made him look like prime Shaq. That's not to diminish Larry's vertical shot blocking, but great defenders don't consistently get lit up by their direct opponents. He was all flash and no substance on D tonight, (not you) but those saying he was good tonight defensively are living by the same principles that Monta Ellis got paid by, just on the other end of the court.
He's a mega threat vertically but the spectacular blocks and alters paper over a ton of holes in his defensive game, he's nowhere near complete on that end. The good news is he should keep getting better if he doesn't get too far ahead of himself, which honestly is a bit of a worry. He got lit up by a guy averaging 11/9 tonight yet was hanging on the ring after a dunk and saluting the crowd after a block like he was prime Mutombo, needs to be a bit careful with that stuff.
The Ibaka talk shouldn't surprise, there's a guy who's spent the majority of his career grossly overrated defensively based on his shotblocking.