The Building of an NBA Defense

There’s been a ton of great analysis coming out of NBA training camp as teams ready for the season. Linked below is one of my favorite pieces I’ve come across over the last several weeks. As the New Orleans Pelicans “defensive coordinator,” assistant coach Darren Erman engineered one of the most startling midseason turnarounds in recent memory. After a slow defensive start last season, New Orleans rallied to post the league’s No. 4 defensive efficiency in its final 32 games. The improved defense powered the Pelicans towards the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2015. The Q&A linked below has terrific insight from Erman on how DeMarcus Cousins’ injury impacted the Pels’ defense, what makes Anthony Davis so good at the rim, the value of continuity, and game-planning.

I think, for us this year, and we did it the last 35 games and the playoffs, we were really leaning on game-planning for other teams. I used to be really big on the idea of we have a way to do it and we are going to play our way. But, now, since our guys have been the system a bit longer, we are more flexible. E’Twaun (Moore) has been here. Solomon has been here. Darius Miller and Niko and Ian (Clark). Obviously Jrue and Anthony. So, we were really able to implement game plans to match up specifically with whoever we were playing that night. Julius and Elfrid are smart and I think they’ll be able to figure it out. We want to be more about game-planning per team and do the best thing to stop them, as opposed to just doing the same thing every time. We will have a base system, but we’ll adjust it throughout.


For more on Erman:
-Pels’ Erman emphasizing defense (LINK)
-Warriors prepare to face the man behind their elite defense (LINK)
-Adrian Wojnarowski’s “The Miracle of St. Anthony: A Season with Coach Bob Hurley and Basketball’s Most Improbable Dynasty” (LINK)

For more on NBA defense:
-Ron Adams clinic notes (LINK)
-The NBA’s defensive revolution (LINK)
-Jeff Bzdelik clinic notes (LINK)
-Golden State’s switching concepts (LINK)
-Clinic notes from Micah Shrewsberry, Boston Celtics assistant coach (LINK)

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