I think all of us in Oklahoma City (or those that watch this team nightly) know what a defensive specialist Thabo Sefolosha is.
He’s catching more national attention with stellar games against Kobe, Brandon Roy and Dwyane Wade, but for the most part, he’s not in the Top Defender discussion. But we all know he should be. A lot of times, in the NBA, defense is all about reputation. Have a couple nice games in the playoffs in front of everybody and your reputation is locked in as a great defender. Do it for five years and have the great players compliment you constantly, and you earn the reputation. But do it for a team in a small market that more still perceive as “sucky” and its hard to gain traction.
So I’m here to try and start creating that reputation for Thabo. I’ve watched him for about 30 games now and the guy is outstanding. Just outstanding. He plays with energy every night. He hits the glass. He helps. He cuts off passing lanes. He blocks shots. I think he defends three guys at a time. He. Does. It. All. You can see Thabo’s face lighting up to the challenge of guarding a great player. Some guys want to shoot it 20 times. Some want the glamour of a big highlight dunk. Thabo is in it because he wants to lock you down.
Not to mention he’s averaging over five rebounds a game which is fourth in the league for shooting guards. But sometimes the best stat you can throw out there to prove a defender’s worth is the other guy’s line. The guy he was guarding. And as reader Steven pointed, out, his reputation should start growing with more of these.
- Kevin Martin: 27 points, 5-19 FG (only three in second half)
- Ben Gordon: 25 pts, 8-20 FG
- Brandon Roy: 16 pts, 5-17 FG, 1-5 from 3
- Kobe Bryant: 31 pts, 9-22 FG, 7 TOs (OT)
- Trevor Ariza: 21 pts, 8-18 FG
- J.J. Redick: 5 pts, 2-11 FG, 0-6 from 3
- Tyreke Evans: 20 pts, 5-16 FG, 5 TOs
- Rasual Butler: 8 pts, 2-10 FG, 2-8 from 3
- Manu Ginobili: 7 pts, 0-8 FG, 0-4 from 3
- Rasual Butler: 8 pts, 3-8 FG
- Dwyane Wade: 22 pts, 6-19 fg, 6 TOs
As Steven pointed out, “Not one player has shot over 50 percent against him and the combined averages are pretty staggering as well: 17.3 ppg and 32 percent shooting. Pretty remarkable.”
Indeed. It’s one thing if a good player misses some shots and has an off night. But when it’s as consistent as it is for Thabo, it’s a theme. And hopefully, something to start a reputation off of.