Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi?

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Better defender: Jordan or Kawhi?

Jordan
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37%
Kawhi
36
63%
 
Total votes: 57

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Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#1 » by CBaller » Tue May 4, 2021 6:17 pm

Different positions but who is the better defender
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#2 » by Djoker » Tue May 4, 2021 7:14 pm

It's very close either way but I feel like MJ had a bit more motor and could turn on maximum intensity for longer stretches. His 1988 season averaging 35 a game and playing elite defense is something else. That doesn't even sound human.
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#3 » by letskissbro » Tue May 4, 2021 7:22 pm

Very obviously Kawhi. They play a similar role only Kawhi is better fundamentally, bigger and more versatile, and doesn't need to gamble to rack up loads of steals and deflections.
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#4 » by falcolombardi » Tue May 4, 2021 7:33 pm

someone here once showed a chart that compared how much better kawhi defense got (dont remember if using defensive plus minus data or team defensive rating) the more steals he had

and did the same for jordan comparing his team defense in games with 2, 3, 4, 5 steals and how much better defense got with each steal

and it said that kawhi defensive impact had a much clearer improvement witj each steal compared to jordan smaller improvement in games with many steals

it was fascnating way to look at data and put common empirical beliefs to test, anyone remembers somethinfh like that? i was a lurker then and didnt save it

also to adress djoker point, prime pre injury kawhi was the first option in the 2016 spurs and also their best defender and that team was all timer great on a defense as great or better as any bulls team defense

for comparision the best defensive player in jordan bulls was probably pippen with jordan arguably 3rd after grant/rodman
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#5 » by Outside » Tue May 4, 2021 7:37 pm

Assume this is at their peak performance defensively. My sense is that Jordan could be a lockdown on-ball defender but did not perform that role the majority of the time. As Ben Taylor's Jordan video in his peaks project argued, Jordan deferred to Pippen and others as the primary on-ball defender and played the passing lanes for steals and deflections.

That's not to say a free safety-type role isn't incredibly valuable, and as I suggested in the Taylor peaks thread, that may have been the role he was tasked to play. I personally consider that ability very valuable; as a youth coach, I liked using zone presses and pressure defenses that relied on a free safety-type player to capitalize on passes out of double-teams, and it took a special player to fill that role well. Jordan in that role helped maximize the effectiveness of the Bulls defense.

Another factor is that Jordan obviously carried a much greater offensive load than Kawhi, while Kawhi has built his reputation on the defensive end, starting with his FMVP coming out party. Kawhi has molded himself into an exceptionally competent offensive player. If these guys were to conserve energy during a game, Kawhi would be more likely to do that on offense and Jordan would on defense. Playing the free safety role allowed Jordan to do that more than playing on-ball defense would.

Even if you give Jordan the edge as a perimeter defender (which is not a given), Kawhi has the bulk and strength to defend bigs better.

Not an easy call, but I give the edge to Kawhi.
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#6 » by Woodsanity » Tue May 4, 2021 7:38 pm

If your talking about peak I give it to Kawhi but its kind of an unfair comparison since Kawhi at his peak defensively was not a 1st option and did not bear a big offensive load like Jordan did.
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#7 » by Colbinii » Tue May 4, 2021 7:39 pm

Kawhi for small stretches of his career but Jordan has more career value on that end.
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#8 » by CBaller » Tue May 4, 2021 8:12 pm

So kawhi has a more overall team impact and effects other teams more as jordan will give his match up problems and play a more risky type of defense
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#9 » by CBaller » Tue May 4, 2021 8:18 pm

Woodsanity wrote:If your talking about peak I give it to Kawhi but its kind of an unfair comparison since Kawhi at his peak defensively was not a 1st option and did not bear a big offensive load like Jordan did.


At their best and yea considering kawhi focused only on defense unlike Jordan
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#10 » by TheBobster » Tue May 4, 2021 8:44 pm

Well, Jordan is pretty old and out-of-shape, so I'd have to go with Kawhi.
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#11 » by penbeast0 » Wed May 5, 2021 1:33 am

Kawhi's defense before he became focused on scoring was probably better as Jordan always was a scorer. It does seem like the last 2-3 years, Kawhi hasn't really been as focused on that end so Jordan's occasional hyperaggression might be the more valuable at this point in their careers.
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#12 » by VanWest82 » Wed May 5, 2021 1:55 am

MJ was way more active and disruptive. Kawhi is a more fundamentally sound defender, and he's bigger / more versatile. It's unlikely MJ would have been strong enough to check Giannis but Kawhi probably could've checked IT and GP. I'd give Kawhi the edge in terms of peak and Jordan the edge in terms of consistent impact game to game. But I can't think of many wings I'd take over peak Kawhi to shut someone down. He might be the GOAT wing defender.
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#13 » by Texas Chuck » Wed May 5, 2021 2:24 am

We can parse out the reasons for it, but Kawhi defended at a level for entire seasons that Jordan never approached. We don't make excuses why other players didn't score like him, so we shouldn't look for excuses for Mike for why he didn't defend as well.

Mike was an incredible basketball player, a good defender almost his entire career, and a great one when he was motivated to be. But we are collectively guilty of turning him more into myth than man and it does him a disservice. He deserves an honest appraisal.
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#14 » by Eddy_JukeZ » Wed May 5, 2021 2:35 am

Kawhi peaked higher.

Career value, I'd probably go Jordan.

I don't think Kawhi's defense has been great the past 2 seasons. I think Lebron's been better defensively the past 2 seasons, but the media will gloss over that.
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#15 » by AdagioPace » Wed May 5, 2021 6:25 am

'13-'16 Kawhi better than any defensive version of Jordan (what we actually saw). A better comparison would be Pippen, and nobody (aside from stans) would take Jordan over Pippen defensively
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#16 » by CBaller » Wed May 5, 2021 12:53 pm

Pippen I would say used more strategy to outsmart the offensive player compared to kawhi or Jordan who are more straight up using strength and athleticism
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#17 » by KhalilS » Wed May 5, 2021 1:08 pm

Kawhi is the best perimeter defender I watched, I wasn't old enough to understand defense back in Jordan's days.
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#18 » by migya » Wed May 5, 2021 2:51 pm

Jordan wiped players out of games defensively. The guy was the best on both ends. The work load was immense but when Jordan decided to shut someone down he did.
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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#19 » by PistolPeteJR » Wed May 5, 2021 3:25 pm

Texas Chuck wrote:We can parse out the reasons for it, but Kawhi defended at a level for entire seasons that Jordan never approached. We don't make excuses why other players didn't score like him, so we shouldn't look for excuses for Mike for why he didn't defend as well.

Mike was an incredible basketball player, a good defender almost his entire career, and a great one when he was motivated to be. But we are collectively guilty of turning him more into myth than man and it does him a disservice. He deserves an honest appraisal.


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Re: Who is a better defender Jordan or Kawhi? 

Post#20 » by No-more-rings » Wed May 5, 2021 4:40 pm

Colbinii wrote:Kawhi for small stretches of his career but Jordan has more career value on that end.

Small stretches? Kawhi was an elite defender from 2013-2016. 4 years is not small stretches.

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