Monday, July 4, 2011

Film Room: Michael Jordan's Defense

These are the highlights that didn't make SportsCenter.

But don't think for one second that they weren't just as important to the greatness of Michael Jordan as the switch of hands, the shots on Craig Ehlo and Bryon Russell, the cradle dunks and all of the other Jordan plays that you see all the time.

Although Carmelo Anthony, Monta Ellis and Amar'e Stoudemire receive all of the criticism, there are many more players in the NBA who to one degree or another need to step up their games defensively.

And Michael Jordan is here to show everyone how to do it.

Notice how spectacular he is at so many different aspects of defense: ball denial, being physical, staying in front of his man and stopping dribble penetration, helping his teammates out, hustling and never giving up plays, reading and anticipating plays and taking the ball away from the other team.


Jordan was kind enough to tell exactly how he was able to pull most of these things off.

It started with his mental approach to the game and knowing the strengths and weakness of his opponents and trying to force them to do things they weren't comfortable doing.

Techniques like off-ball defense and keeping his eyes on his man and the ball at the same time helped him as well.

This is how it looks in game situations.

His defensive stance and the placement of his hands to block the passing lane with one and swat at the ball with the other helped him contain his man and get steals.

And eating right, staying in shape and getting plenty of rest gave him the energy to go all out and be a force on both ends of the floor.

There it is.

Michael Jordan, who is a great teacher, has laid a solid foundation for defensive improvement; so don't blame him if guys aren't better on defense.

And don't blame Scottie Pippen.

Between the two of them, those in the NBA have all of the examples they need to dominate the defensive end of the floor.

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