This page brings you all of the defensive team stats you need, and you can view them in either an overall totals form or by per game. Using per game will help you gauge what they are allowing on average for each game. During a season, this page is going to update each night to bring in the most current stats to keep you up to date. Use the top dropdown bar to select the season you want, as well as look at conferences or go back to the leaders page or look back at offensive stats. Everything is a click away and you can check out the defensive stats here in the meantime.
Offenses have a lot of firepower these days, and these defenses are tasked with a tough job. As three-pointers become more and more popular, defending the three-point line is extremely important. Teams are also playing at a high pace which makes it tough for defenses. You have to factor in the high pace for some teams as the points and shots allowed are going to be up because of the style of their overall play. When you factor in most teams playing over 100 possessions a night, defensive numbers are going to be down in comparison to prior seasons.
There are some key areas for defenses to excel in. Limiting opponent's shooting is extremely important and the OPP FG% and OPP 3PT% will show how defenses are doing against opposing shooters. Creating turnovers is important and you can see who is generating the most. Giving up second-chance opportunities is not a good look for a defense, so check out who is allowing the most offensive rebounds. To get an overall look at a defense you can sort through the defensive rating column at the end of the table, as this sums up a team's defense in one rating. The lower the number the better the defense is.
What Makes A Good NBA Defense
The days of allowing under 100 points per game are long gone, as all NBA teams are allowing over 100 points per game. There are a few reasons for this as the game has picked up the pace, teams are deeper with offensive talent, and the league is filled with superstar players. We now have to adjust our expectations to see who is a good NBA defense. Allowing under 110 points per game is now considered to be a success, as the top half teams in the league are allowing around 106 points per game. Defenses need to make things as tough as possible against opposing offenses. That means making them work and not giving up easy buckets. Teams do this by playing strong team defense, but they also likely have a strong rim protector and have some wings who are capable of defending opposing superstars.
Teams have started to sacrifice rebounding a bit, as teams go to a more small-ball strategy. Being able to rebound is still an edge as you can give your team second-chance opportunities and also limit second-chance points to opposing teams. Now rebounding isn't completely tied to good defenses, but you see most of the top defensive teams at least in the top half for rebounds allowed to opposing teams. Turnover stats have turned into a bit of a pace stat, as teams that create turnovers are not great defenses. As you see above teams like Washington, Phoenix, and Golden State are some of the worst defensive teams but are top five in creating turnovers.
Four columns on this page point to the top defenses in the game today. Of course, points allowed is going to be one that can easily point to a top defense, however, it can still be related to pace. To go one step further, turn to defensive rating which helps tie in just about everything you want tor evaluating a defense. FG% and 3PT% allowed is going to show you how tough these defenses make it on opposing shooters. This is more of an efficiency stat, so it won't factor in pace like allowed.
Top NBA Defenses
The Milwaukee Bucks are one of the best teams in the NBA on both sides of the ball. They are the biggest team in the NBA as they have several players with monster wingspans that make it tough on opposing offenses because of their length. No surprise to see teams having a tough time shooting from three and the field in general. The pace is one of the reasons why three-point attempts are high for them in terms of being allowed, but they have the best defensive rating in the league. We see most of the top defenses come from the Eastern Conference, as they play a bit more defensively, but the Western Conference is loaded with very strong offenses, so that is something to note when ranking defenses across the entire league. Despite losing Kawhi Leonard, the Toronto Raptors have been a top-three defense in the league. The entire roster plays well on both sides, and they also play at a slightly slower pace.
Both Los Angeles teams have picked up the defensive play this season, as that wasn't the case last year. Of course, the Los Angeles Clippers bringing in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George over the offseason is going to instantly make them better on the defensive side. The Clippers are top five in defensive rating, and they do it with their starting and bench depth that feature strong defensive players. The Clippers allow less than 110 points per game and are also tremendous in creating turnovers. They are also a strong rebounding team. The Los Angeles Lakers added Anthony Davis, who is a former defensive player of the year winner. LeBron James still adds to the defensive side, but Danny Green has been a nice addition to play some defense on the wing. Los Angeles is top three in defensive rating, and allowing 106 points per game in the Western Conference is certainly a plus.
Going back to the Eastern Conference, the Boston Celtics are allowing just 106 points per game, and are also inside the top five in defensive rating. Brad Stevens has this team operating at a high rate defensively since his arrival, and the young talent takes pride in posting strong defensive numbers. The Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers both rank inside the top ten in defensive rating and are a pair of other teams who dominate on the defensive side. Both of them are allowing 107 points per game and also are strong in the blocked shots department with two big rim protectors.
Worst NBA Defenses
The Eastern Conference features three of the worst defenses in the NBA. Teams going through a complete rebuild are going to be on the wrong end of the defensive table. The Washington Wizards are one of them, and playing at a high pace isn’t going to help their overall numbers. They are allowing 119 points per game, and are also one of the worst rebounding teams in the league. Cleveland is another one, allowing 114 points per game, as they have been in a free fall since LeBron James left. The young team struggles on the defensive side, as they also have rotated bigs that are not necessarily rim protectors. The Atlanta Hawks have a great offense, but struggle stopping opponents. They are allowing a whopping 119 points per game. Portland and Golden State are two Northwest teams that have taken a step backward in the defense department. Both rank inside the bottom five in defensive rating.
Pace & Defensive Stats
Pace affects both defensive and offensive stats. Because teams play at a faster pace, it also means their opponents are also going to be playing at a higher pace as well. Overall pace has been on the rise, and most of the league is already playing over 100 possessions per game. This means more field goal attempts and higher volume stats overall. When you look at turnovers created there is a lot that has to go with the pace at which the team plays. Teams that push the pace are going to be better at generating turnovers as the game is a bit more chaotic and prone to turnovers. When you sort through by columns, you can see how pace affects the stat. For points allowed, a few teams have average or better defensive ratings, but the numbers are up because they play at a higher pace.
The same can be said for rebounds and assists allowed. Some of the rebounding teams are good rebounding teams, but they allow a lot more because they are playing with more possessions on both sides. Assists and turnovers fall into that boat as well. That is why defensive rating and seeing how teams do against shooting efficiency is where we can measure defense in today’s era. When looking at these tables, make sure to factor in pace for the stats you are looking for.
What Defense Averages The Most Steals Per Game?
The Chicago Bulls average ten steals per game, and they are the only team averaging double-digit steals in a season. The Bulls have an opportunistic backcourt defense that prides themselves on forcing turnovers, however, this defense still ranks inside the bottom half.
What Team Allows The Most Rebounds Per Game?
The Portland Trail Blazers allow the most rebounds per game, as teams average 47.5 against them each night. As the Blazers have Hassan Whiteside, most of the rest of the starting five is more of a small ball form which gives way for more rebounds.
What Defense Allows The Most Three-Pointers Per Game?
Despite a tough defense, the Milwaukee Bucks are allowing 13.7 three-pointers made per game. Now, this also ties into Milwaukee seeing the most three-point attempts against, as they allow 38.6 three-point attempts per game. They are allowing teams to shoot 35%.
What Team Has The Lowest Defensive Rating?
When looking at a defensive rating, you want the lower number as it points to a better defense. The Milwaukee Bucks have the best defensive rating, as it sits at 101.9. Nobody is under a 105 defensive rating other than the Milwaukee Bucks.
What Team Has The Highest Defensive Rating?
The higher your defensive rating is as a team, the worse off a team defense is. The highest defensive rating goes to the Washington Wizards, as it sits at 115.8. The Cleveland Cavaliers have the second-highest at 115.4, as they are the only two teams over 115.
Who Is Allowing The Highest Field Goal Percentage?
Opposing teams facing the Cleveland Cavaliers have a field day shooting the ball. Opponents average a 49.1% shooting percentage from the field against the Cavaliers. Only one other team is allowing over a 49% clip, which is the Washington Wizards.
Who Is Allowing The Highest Three-Point Percentage?
Three-point shooters have averaged 38.9% from three against the Golden State Warriors, as they allow the highest three-point percentage in the league to opposing teams. The New York Knicks are next in line at 38.1%. No other teams are above 38%.