If the mantra that defense wins championships rings true, the L.A. Clippers may expect a parade led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Leonard and George, now teammates in Los Angeles, are arguably the best two-way players in the NBA due to their extraordinary value on both offense and defense. As an MVP candidate last season, George led the league with 2.2 steals per game while Leonard ranked just behind at No. 6 overall with 1.6 steals.
George has been awarded either 1st Team All-Defense or 2nd Team All-Defense four times in his career. Leonard has received that honor five times and has even won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year twice.
While the two stars will be the immediate faces of the franchise, they aren’t the only ones who will define the Clippers’ defensive identity. Patrick Beverley has ranked in the 75th percentile or better for block percentage among all players at his position during each season of his NBA career thus far.
The scrappy guard, who is a defensive irritant mostly known for his stellar team defense, finished in the 93rd percentile for steal percentage among point guards in his 2017-18 campaign.
Beverley took home 2nd Team All-Defense honors in 2014 and 1st Team All-Defense in 2017. Leonard, George and Beverley have combined for 11 appearances on the All-Defense teams.
In addition to the phenomenal perimeter defense, they also have a fantastic rim protector with big man Montrezl Harrell, who ranked Top 20 in block percentage and blocks per game.
All four players (Leonard, George, Beverley and Harrell) ranked at least Top 70 in defensive box-plus minus and Top 100 in defensive win shares last year.
Even though they are also expected to have tremendous offensive upside in Los Angeles given the ceilings of their core players, their defense now has unprecedented levels of potential.