One of the most valuable things to have on your NBA 2K12 squad is a defensive stopper, someone who can guard the opposing team’s best player in crunch time. Using a combination of Defensive Awareness, On Ball Defense, and Steal or Block, I’ve attempted to rate the top perimeter defenders in NBA 2K12. While the formula is probably a little flawed, it sums the defensive awareness, on ball defense and a player’s steal or block rating, whichever is higher, to create a final number. Here is the list. It includes guards and small forwards only.
Dwayne Wade is part of an elite Heat perimeter defense.
12) G Dwayne Wade – Miami Heat – Key Ratings: 81 STL, 85 DAWR, 84 ON BALL D
Wade has averaged 1.8 steals per game and 1.0 blocks per game in his 8 year NBA career. He’s been in the top six in steals per game in three seasons, and he has ranked 10th the last two years in Defensive Win Shares. Wade is a clutch player and a rock solid defender with quick hands. In NBA 2K12, he is capable of working his magic on the offensive end and then coming back and playing lock down D. Wade has a guard-high block rating of 70 in NBA 2K12. Wade is a true two-way player, an NBA superstar, and No. 12 on our list of top perimeter defenders.
11) F Metta World Peace – Los Angeles Lakers – Key Ratings: 79 STL, 85 DAWR, 87 ON BALL D
The artist formerly known as Ron Artest has made his name in the NBA for years primarily as a defensive stopper, winning 2003-04 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Peace has had stints where he was called upon to be an offensive force, however in the latter part of his career he’s had to rely less on his athletic skills and more on his savvy and experience. In perhaps his toughest season statistically (2010-11), Peace was still an effective defender, averaging 1.5 steals per game. His career average is 1.9 steals per game, which ranks second among active players. His game may be declining with age, but he’s still a valuable player in real life and in NBA 2K12. Peace ranks 11th on our list.
10) G Kobe Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers – Key Ratings: 77 STL, 88 DAWR, 86 ON BALL D
Kobe Bryant is the most recognizable name and face in the NBA today besides LeBron James. He’s currently sixth in career scoring. Lost amidst the Lakers trade drama and taking 25-plus shots a game, is the fact that he’s a pretty darned good defender. The numbers bear this out too. Kobe ranks fifth in the NBA among active players with 1.5 steals per game. He also ranks sixth among active NBA players in steal percentage and ninth among active players in Defensive Win Shares. Like Wade, Kobe is a two-way player and an NBA superstar. In NBA 2K12 Kobe is more than just a scoring machine, he’s also the best defender on a very good Lakers squad.
9) F LeBron James – Miami Heat – Key Ratings: 84 STL, 85 DAWR, 83 ON BALL D
The most polarizing figure in the NBA, LeBron James, comes in at No. 9 on our list of the best perimeter defenders. For his career, LeBron has averaged 1.7 steals per game and almost a block per game. In his nine NBA seasons, he’s ranked in the top ten in steals per game four times. LeBron has also finished in the top five in Defensive Win Shares four times in his career. While James is famous for his highlight-reel chase down blocks, his NBA 2K12 block rating comes in at just 61. James may not be the next coming of Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson, and he may not be able to close out tough games in the fourth quarter, but he’s one of the ten best perimeter defenders in NBA 2K12.
8) F Andrei Kirilenko – NBA Free Agent – Key Ratings: 84 STL, 88 DAWR, 81 ON BALL D
We haven’t had a chance to see AK-47 play this season because Kirilenko decided to play in his native Russia during the NBA Lockout. Kirilenko has averaged a remarkable 2.0 blocks per game (73 Block rating) and 1.4 steals per game over his ten year NBA career. With Kirilenko being a free agent in NBA 2K12, this is a great opportunity to add a rare defensive presence to your lineup. He can play small forward and occasionally slide to the power forward spot, making him one of the most versatile players available.
7) F Shane Battier – Miami Heat – Key Ratings: 66 BLK, 94 DAWR, 95 ON BALL D
Are you seeing a pattern here? Three players from the Miami Heat are among the first five players on the list. Anyone who has seen Battier’s tenacious defense and ability to draw a charge knows that Battier belongs. Battier has averaged 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks per game in his NBA career. Battier doesn’t have the numbers to back up his No. 7 ranking, but that’s because he often does his work on defense before his opponent can get the basketball. Battier is one of the best at frustrating shooters off the ball and denying position on the court. Once his man does get the ball, Battier is a master at playing the angles on the floor and forcing his matchup to pass the ball or take shots they aren’t comfortable taking. His 95 On Ball Defense rating in NBA 2K12 is the highest in the game by far, and with Defensive Awareness at 94, you don’t have to worry about him losing his assignment very often.
6) G Thabo Sefolosha – Oklahoma City Thunder – Key Ratings: 83 STL, 88 DAWR, 88 ON BALL D
Thabo Sefolosha is known for one thing in the NBA -- defense. That defensive ability has kept James Harden on the bench for OKC to date in his NBA career, despite Harden being the better overall player. Sefolosha’s importance to the Thunder can’t be measured in raw statistics like many of the other players on the list. On a team with all of the scoring talent that Oklahoma City has, Sefolosha fits in perfectly in his role as a defensive specialist. His 83 steal rating gave him the nod over Battier, despite Battier’s stellar on ball defense. Thabo has averaged 1.0 steals per game in his career and was named to the 2009-10 NBA All-Defensive Second Team. With so many great scoring guards in today’s NBA, Sefolosha’s length and skill set will be in high demand for a long time.
5) G/F Ronnie Brewer – Chicago Bulls – Key Ratings: 90 STL, 84 DAWR, 88 O BALL D
Ronnie Brewer may be the first name on the list that you didn’t see coming, especially at No. 5. But Brewer’s stats back up his impressive ratings in NBA 2K12. For his career, he’s averaged 1.4 steals per game, and had the sixth best overall Defensive Rating in the NBA last season at 98.4. And his Defensive Win Shares number was an outstanding 3.7, proving that Brewer’s defense equals wins. Brewer’s defensive ability allowed Chicago to cut fellow defensive guard Keith Bogans in the lockout shortened off-season. Brewer’s size (6-7) allows him to guard both the shooting guard and the small forward positions. In NBA 2K12, Brewer is a very valuable piece to have on your team.
4) G Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder – Key Ratings: 89 STL, 86 DAWR, 88 ON BALL D
Russell Westbrook may only be in his fourth NBA season, but he has quickly gained the reputation as an elite pick pocket. The 2011 All-Star also had a Defensive Win Shares number of 3.1 last season. When you combine Russell Westbrook with Thabo Sefolosha on the perimeter, you have one of the best defensive perimeter duos in the NBA today. Westbrook has played in all 82 games in each of his first three seasons, providing outstanding durability as well.
3) G Tony Allen – Memphis Grizzlies – Key Ratings: 89 STL, 90 DAWR, 87 ON BALL D
Tony Allen is another player who has made his reputation as a lock down defender. One of the most underrated moves of the 2009-10 offseason was Memphis acquiring Allen. Allen brings toughness and tenacity to the two guard position at 6-4, 213 lbs. He was named to the NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team. He was No. 1 in steal percentage last season, and fifth in steals per game with 1.8. He also led the league in steals-per-48-minutes at 4.14. The 30-year-old is often asked to defend the opposing team’s best perimeter scorer, ala Kobe Bryant in the 2009-10 NBA Finals. In a Q&A session at UC Santa Barbara, Kobe called Allen the “toughest defender in the game”. That’s high praise.
He may be a clipper now, but he's still one of the best perimeter defenders in the game.
2) G Chris Paul – Los Angeles Clippers – Key Ratings: 97 STL, 91 DAWR, 83 ON BALL D
Chris Paul is unquestionably one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA. He was named to the 2007-08 2nd Team NBA All-Defensive Team and followed that up by being named to the NBA All-Defensive 1st Team the following year. In 2010-11, Paul made the NBA All-Defensive 3rd team. His Defensive Win Share number was 4.4 last season. Paul has led the league in steals in four of his six NBA seasons. He’s averaging 2.7 steals per game so far this season with the L.A. Clippers. The numbers don’t lie. Paul only lacks one thing as a perimeter defender and that’s size. Being 6-0, 175 lbs, he has to make up for it with quick feet, quicker hands and great anticipation. CP3 does all of that and more.
1) G Rajon Rondo – Boston Celtics – Key Ratings: 93 STL, 94 DAWR, 90 ON BALL D
Rajon Rondo tops the list of the best perimeter defenders according to NBA 2K12. Rondo’s steal numbers are impressive; 1.9 steals per game career average. Rondo has been in the top ten in steals in each of his five NBA seasons. He ranked first in steals per game in 2010-11 with 2.3 per game. He’s been in the top five in steal percentage in each of his NBA seasons, finishing first in two of the five. His Defensive Win Shares numbers have been consistently outstanding. His lowest rating has been 4.7, eighth in the league that season. He made NBA All-Defensive 2nd Team in 2008-09 and he’s been NBA All-Defensive 1st team in each of the last two seasons. Rondo is the engine that drives the Celtics and as badly as Boston has struggled out of the gates so far this season, can you imagine how bad they would be without Rondo? He value on the defensive end alone is severely underrated, not to mention his passing ability. Rajon Rondo is first on our list of the top NBA perimeter players in NBA 2K12.
Have your say OS! Comment below if you agree, disagree, or just want to add to the discussion. Who is your go-to perimeter defender in NBA 2K12?