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10 best defensive players in the NBA ahead of 2023-24

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The best NBA defenders 2023-24 consists of former Defensive Player of the Year winners and finalists and All-NBA Defensive Team players. They have proven time and time again that they are the top dogs in the league who can make an impact and win games without scoring the basketball.

Best NBA defenders 2023-24

The top defenders in the NBA don’t get that much appreciation since they don’t produce killer crossovers and posterizing dunk highlights. However, true basketball fans know that good defenders can make plays that singlehandedly win games. Remember LeBron’s chasedown block against Iguodala in the Finals? Defense really wins championships.

Here are the best NBA defenders in the 2023-24 season…

10. Matisse Thybulle

Matisse Thybulle is one of the best NBA defenders in 2023-24. He makes up for his lack of offense with his defense, stuffing the stat sheet with steals and blocks. His per 36 minutes stats are insane, averaging 2.6 steals and 1.5 blocks.

We saw a glimpse of what he can do with more minutes after he was traded to Portland last season. Now, he will have more opportunities with them after the Blazers matched the Mavericks’ three-year, $33 million contract.


9. Alex Caruso

Despite not being a great offensive player, Alex Caruso makes up for it with his defense. He’s one of the best stealers in the league with 1.5 steals in just over 23 minutes per game. He also leads the league in deflections per 36 minutes at 5.2.

Caruso was named to the All-NBA Defensive First Team in the 2022-23 season. He’s one of the most impactful players on the Bulls roster due to his defense alone. After all, he helped Chicago finish a top-five defense in the league last season, something that they haven’t been known for in past seasons.

8. Draymond Green

Draymond Green‘s defensive impact goes beyond the stat sheet. His basketball IQ is off the charts. He can make plays on the defensive end by disrupting passing lanes, forcing turnovers, and playing with physicality.

The Warriors should thank Green for his contributions on the defensive end. Without him, it’s highly unlikely that Golden State wins four championships in the modern era.

7. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s five-year supermax deal is worth every cent for the Bucks since he also plays defense. Milwaukee is happy to pay the luxury tax to accommodate a generational talent like him. His length and athleticism allow him to defend all five positions with ease.


The former Defensive Player of the Year’s ranking is lower on this list since he’s more of an offensive player, averaging 28 points or more in the past four seasons. His defensive stats are also down slightly.

6. Derrick White

Derrick White was a disruptor on the defensive end with the Celtics last season. He was named to the All-NBA Defensive Second Team.

White certainly earned the honor of becoming one of the top defenders in the NBA. After all, he helped the Celtics finish second in the NBA with a 110.6 defensive rating. Apart from being a great perimeter defender, White is also an excellent shot-blocker. He leads all guards in the league at blocks with 76 blocked shots.

5. Brook Lopez

No one knew that Brook Lopez would have a great season last year. He averaged career-highs with the Bucks last season in points, rebounds, and blocks.

Lopez averaged a career-high 2.5 blocks per game in the 2022-23 season. His role was to simply man the paint and block shots since Jrue Holiday and Giannis Antetokounmpo could wreak havoc defensively anywhere on the floor. This is why his rim protection is one of the best in the league, second only to Jaren Jackson Jr.

4. Evan Mobley

At his age, Evan Mobley is already one of the best defenders 2023-24 in the NBA. What separates him from anyone on this list is he can guard anyone on the floor. He’s long enough to protect the rim and fluid enough to guard the perimeter.

Mobley finished third on the 2022-23 Defensive Player of the Year ladder. It’s scary to know that he’s still barely scratching the surface. His potential is through the roof.

3. Jrue Holiday

One of the most underrated players in the league that needs to get more credit is Jrue Holiday. His game isn’t flashy. He simply gets the job done on the offensive and defensive end.

Holiday was selected in the All-NBA Defensive First Team in the 2022-23 season. He can shut down opposing defenders, shut down passing lanes, and force multiple turnovers. There’s no reason to think that he’ll slow down anytime soon.

2. Marcus Smart

The 2021-22 Defensive of the Year is still one of the top defenders in the NBA. Smart’s tenacity on the defensive end separates him from the rest. He can suffocate opposing guards and can hold his ground in the post against forwards and centers.

Smart was the first guard to win the DPOY award since Gary Payton in 1996 and just the sixth guard to earn that distinction. Now traded to the Grizzlies in a blockbuster three-team trade, he’ll join the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Jaren Jackson Jr.

1. Jaren Jackson Jr.

After winning the 2023 Defensive Player of the Year award, Jaren Jackson Jr. is the best defender in the league right now. Jackson averaged a career-high 3.0 blocks per game in the 2022-23 season. As you can see, there’s no better rim protector than him.

Jackson’s length and wingspan allow him to reach for blocks and disrupt shots. He blocks shots with impeccable timing without biting to fakes (something that he struggled with in his early years in the NBA). Moreover, his fluidity at his size allows him to defend the perimeter.

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