Basketball Index’s 2024 All-Defensive Teams

Presenting Basketball Index’s 2024 All-Defensive Teams. These results are a combination of BBI staff ballots as well as a ballot submitted for LEBRON are all in one metric. We have a third All-Defense team because it never made sense to us why there were only two.


A few metrics that will be cited heavily in the article are D-LEBRON, Matchup Difficulty, Passing Lane Defense, and Pickpocket Rating. D-LEBRON is our overall defensive impact metric. Matchup Difficulty measures the quality of the player you are guarding possession to possession. Passing Lane Defense looks at your deflections and intercepted passes. Pickpocket Rating determines how often you generate on-ball steals. Follow me on Twitter @taylormetrics


1st Team


Rudy Gobert – MIN – Anchor Big

After the blockbuster trade and a disappointing first year in Minnesota, many were doubting Gobert. He responded by finishing first in D-LEBRON and leading the Timberwolves to the number-one defense in the league. His rim protection and rim deterrence are still as good as it gets and he can completely lock down the bottom half of the key by himself. Add in his elite defense rebounding and you have the ideal anchor big.


Victor Wembanyama – SAS – Mobile Big

You know how the Flintstones would write things on a stone tablet, you might as well do that with Wemby being 1st Team All-Defense for the next 15 years. He finished 2nd in D-LEBRON and over the course of his rookie season became one of the most intimidating defenders in the league. The 20 year old’s defensive playmaking was through the roof, being the only player to exceed 80th% in Steals, 80th% Deflections/75, and 95th% Blocks/75. 


Anthony Davis – LAL – Mobile Big

AD’s scheme versatility is the best in the league. He can dominate a game by playing drop coverage or switching and hedging on the perimeter. He was leaned on heavily this season by the Lakers playing 35.5 min/game (2nd highest among centers) and he delivered by posting the 4th-best D-LEBRON in the league. Davis has always tallied high block rates thanks to his 7’6 wingspan and this year was no exception. He was 7th among centers in Blocks/75 and 6th in Block Rate On Contests%.


Bam Adebayo – MIA – Mobile Big

Bam produced the highest D-LEBRON of his career, good for 5th in the league. His mobility makes him one of the best centers defending on the perimeter and his above-average steal and deflection rates (among bigs) make him disruptive away from the basket. His combination of switchability, positioning, and discipline is a rare combination.


Alex Caruso – CHI – Point Of Attack

This is Caruso’s 3rd season in a row leading all guards in D-LEBRON and he was also the only guard to finish in the top 15. He did so drawing some of the toughest covers on a nightly basis (3rd in Matchup Difficulty). His defensive playmaking was off the charts, ranking 2nd in Deflections/75, 4th in Steals/75, and 7th in Offensive Fouls Drawn/75. He was also effective contesting shots at the basket finishing in the 76th% in Rim Points Saved/75.


2nd team


Jalen Suggs – ORL – Point Of Attack

Suggs’ physicality, toughness, and energy translate to being one of the top perimeter defenders in the league. He guards the best player on the opposing team on a nightly basis (11th in Matchup Difficulty), is fantastic at racking up offensive fouls drawn (12th in Offensive Fouls Drawn/75), and generates a healthy number of steals (91st% in Steals/75). Beyond the numbers, he is the heart and soul of the Magic’s defense.


Derrick White – BOS – Point Of Attack

White was a key piece of the Celtics 3rd ranked defense. He has been the best guard contesting shots near the rim for years and he turned in another solid season of rim protection (1.2 blocks per game). Plus/minus data likes him because of his high awareness and strong team defense. His knack for drawing offensive fouls is the cherry on top of his overall impressive defensive game.


Jaden McDaniels – MIN – Wing Stopper

Jaden McDaniels has been a BBI darling for a while now. When it comes to defending one-on-one on the perimeter there isn’t a better player in the league. He maximizes his physical tools (6’9 height & 6’12 wingspan) and mirrors offensive players like an All-Pro cornerback. McDaniels has the quickness to stay with smaller guards making him a true 1-4 defender. His size also makes him effective around the rim (82% in Rim Points Saved/75). 


Isaiah Hartenstein – NYK – Anchor Big

After Mitchell Robinson went down with an injury Hartenstein saw a significant jump in minutes and responded by finishing 7th in D-LEBRON. His combination of rim protection (7th in Rim Points Saved) and active hands (89th% in Steals/75) led to him being one of the most disruptive bigs in the league. In the past, he struggled with fouling, but this season he finished with a career-low in fouls committed/75.


Herbert Jones – NOP – Wing Stopper

Herb is one of the premier wing stoppers in the league. His length (6’7 with a 7-foot wing span) can swallow up ball handlers in the perimeter. He was effective jumping passing lanes (83rd% in Passing Lane Defense), generating on-ball steals (82% in Pickpocket Rating), He is the leader of the Pelicans defense and led them in Matchup Difficulty (97th%). 


Third Team


Chet Holmgren – OKC – Mobile Big

Chet had an excellent defensive rookie season. But he just so happened to debut the same year as Victor Wembenyama. If he didn’t we would be gushing about his defensive impact, specifically his dominance defending the rim (3rd in blocks/75, 4th in Rim Points Saved/75). Chet’s ability to jump, land, and then immediately spring off the ground again is a special talent. For a big, he held his own on the perimeter in switches.


Nic Claxton – Mobile Big

Claxton is the best switching big in the league. His foot speed and change of direction at 6’11 are special. Couple that with strong rim protection numbers (12th in Rim Points Saved/75 among centers) and you have one of the most dynamic bigs in the league. He had the 4th best defensive box score (via Box D-LEBRON) in the league.


Luguentz Dort – OKC – Point Of Attack

Lu Dort is an unbelievable on-ball defender. In isolation, he hounds ball handlers often trapping them in the “Dorture Chamber”. He is the king of drawing offensive fouls, he finished 1st in the league in Stable Offensive Fouls Drawn/75 (He also finished 1st in 2023). Maybe the most impressive part of his defensive resume is that he drew the toughest assignments of any plyer in the league (1st in Matchup Difficulty). 


Kawhi Leonard – LAC- Wing Stopper

As a Clipper, Kawhi has consistently performed at an All-Defensive level. His luck-adjusted defensive on/off numbers are great and his defensive playmaking remains strong. (89th% in Pickpocket Rating & 82nd% in Passing Lane Defense). He’s no longer a DPOY candidate but he’s still among the best in the league.


Daniel Gafford -WAS/DAL – Anchor Big 

Gafford was traded to the Mavericks mid-season and went from having a solid defensive season to a fantastic one. He’s always been a great shot blocker (97th% in Blocks/75) but this season he was far more disruptive in the passing lanes (from 27th% in 2023 to 63rd% in 24 in Passing Lane Defense). He was also adept at picking pockets (74th% in Pickpocket Rating). His athleticism and length help make him a good team defender.


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