How can smaller guards optimize their defense?

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Max123
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How can smaller guards optimize their defense? 

Post#1 » by Max123 » Thu Jun 10, 2021 1:48 pm

It’s quite well known that guards, especially those that are around 6’3 or under, can’t really reach the impact levels of top tier bigs defensively. That being said I’m interested in knowing how can said smaller guards try and optimize their defensive impact; what goes into a great or all time defensive guard?

For example, if we consider some players like CP3 and Lowry, things that come to mind include;
- Strong IQ and awareness
- Great communication
- Bulky build allows to hang with taller players
- Good footspeed
- Great hands
- Good technique/footwork working around pick and rolls

I would like posters to highlight some great defensive guards and what made them great on that end.


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Re: How can smaller guards optimize their defense? 

Post#2 » by Colbinii » Thu Jun 10, 2021 2:07 pm

The most important aspect of good defense, especially for smaller guards, is high IQ. Defense is all about positioning and if you are rotating and putting yourself in the correct position because of film study, you will be, at worst, a positive defender.

The next thing that great small defenders do is get into the body of the opponent. Tony Allen did a remarkable job of this against Kevin Durant in 2014 and Bridges did a good job against LeBron this season in the PHX vs LAL series. If you are getting into the body of an offensive player, they can't get around you and it is difficult to go up and over them with a jump shot.
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Re: How can smaller guards optimize their defense? 

Post#3 » by penbeast0 » Thu Jun 10, 2021 3:53 pm

Colbinii wrote:The most important aspect of good defense, especially for smaller guards, is high IQ. Defense is all about positioning and if you are rotating and putting yourself in the correct position because of film study, you will be, at worst, a positive defender.

The next thing that great small defenders do is get into the body of the opponent. Tony Allen did a remarkable job of this against Kevin Durant in 2014 and Bridges did a good job against LeBron this season in the PHX vs LAL series. If you are getting into the body of an offensive player, they can't get around you and it is difficult to go up and over them with a jump shot.


Positioning yes, but even more, putting in energy at that end consistently on every play. It's easier in today's game where few players play the big minutes that stars used to play but still, the main differentiators are effort, knowing your role in the team defense (which includes positioning), recognizing what the offense is trying to do, and only 4th, physical ability.
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Re: How can smaller guards optimize their defense? 

Post#4 » by trex_8063 » Thu Jun 10, 2021 4:30 pm

penbeast0 wrote:
Colbinii wrote:The most important aspect of good defense, especially for smaller guards, is high IQ. Defense is all about positioning and if you are rotating and putting yourself in the correct position because of film study, you will be, at worst, a positive defender.

The next thing that great small defenders do is get into the body of the opponent. Tony Allen did a remarkable job of this against Kevin Durant in 2014 and Bridges did a good job against LeBron this season in the PHX vs LAL series. If you are getting into the body of an offensive player, they can't get around you and it is difficult to go up and over them with a jump shot.


Positioning yes, but even more, putting in energy at that end consistently on every play....


....and all the way to the end of the play. It happens often enough where someone [or perhaps the team, collectively] plays really good defense for about 17 seconds, only to blow it in the last 4-6 seconds of the shotclock.
Focus, I guess is what I'm getting at (sort of a component of energy: it's mental energy). 16-18 seconds of excellent defense followed by just a few seconds of inattention/low effort can essentially render the entire defensive possession poor.
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Re: How can smaller guards optimize their defense? 

Post#5 » by penbeast0 » Thu Jun 10, 2021 4:40 pm

And then there are the Shaqtin a Fool possessions :oops:

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Re: How can smaller guards optimize their defense? 

Post#6 » by Bergmaniac » Thu Jun 10, 2021 5:30 pm

Be really physical to the extent of committing a foul by the book on every other play and hope the refs don't call it often. Seems to work for quite a few of them, at least most of the time.

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