ESPN.com's John Hollinger names his All-Defensive team (Insider access needed) and the runners-up at each position. For the stat geeks, here's the criteria:
at the player's on-court versus off-court point differential at the
defensive end, measured per 100 possessions (hat-tip to
BasketballValue.com for that one). I've included that measure for every
player listed below — the more negative the number, the better. Second,
I looked at a team's defensive efficiency; having an average point
differential for the top-ranked defense (Charlotte) is a very different
feat than doing the same for the worst defense (Toronto).
The only Celtics player to make the team: Rajon Rondo.
Rondo, Boston (-2.20)
Rondo remains the cream of the crop when it comes to defending the point
guard position in spite of a propensity for gambling that sometimes
drives Boston coach Doc
Rivers crazy. He's the main reason the Celtics are so good at
forcing turnovers, leading the league in steals and using his young legs
to save Boston's aging core from a serious speed disadvantage. As an
added plus, his arms are so long that he can switch to face bigger
guards with relative ease.
While the gambling drives me crazy, Rondo deserves this honor and hopefully he will be recognized on the official NBA defensive team.
Kendrick Perkins did receive honorable mention:
Perkins (-3.28) isn't a great shot-blocker, but he's a mean,
physical SOB who plays incredibly tough post defense. If you're going up
Howard, then Perk is the player you want guarding him. A couple
other centers, however, outrank him as help defenders, especially when
it comes to picking up guards on the perimeter.
In another list of the top team defenses, the Celtics finished 3rd behind Charlotte and Orlando.