This ws asked in another very long thread, and I figured it deserved it's own thread, hey it is the offseason what else is there to talk about. Want to hear other opinions
I've seen a lot comments lately with disparaging remarks about Al's defense.
Does somebody that really pays attention to individual player's defense care to provide a scouting report on Al's defense? We know he's not as good as Ron, so I'm not looking for somebody to just say that... what specifically can he do/ not do and, most importantly, how does his defense today compare to his defense before he blew out his knee?
You ask an interesting question.
The biggest difference I see between AL and Ron is that Ron plays defense hard 100% all the time. Al plays it hard at times, he gets geeked up to play defense well at times. See this is what sets Artest apart, sure he has incredible defensive talent, but it is his intensity on defense that sets him apart. He never gives up on the play, how many times per game does he get beat off the dribble and yet he finds a way to get back into the play. And this incredible intensity, effort, energy, whatever you want to call it rubs off on his teammates.
Having said that let's talk about AL, I've already said he does not play defense hard more than 80% of the time. Once he is beat, he is beat, and is time for offense.
Al's lateral quickness since the knee injury has taken a turn for the worse, he simply cannot stay in front of people like he used to. Al's defense seemed good compared to Reggie's, Jalen's, Mullen's.
One other very important thing about AL that worries me is he has a natural tendency to put on weight, that is just his body type, as he gets older and older he will become more of a power forward who is incapable of defending small forwards. That has already started. Don't get me wrong it is not about staying in shape it is just a natural aging process.
Al is horrible following players around screens.
We all know AL is great at taking charges, that is his thing, he is good at it and deserves credit for doing that.
Remember game #2 of the Celtics series this year. Ron was suspended. Al guarded Paul Pierce in the first half, but not at all in the second. Reggie defended PP, Foster did, Bender did a lot, but AL did not at all in the 2nd half. That should tell us something.
Two years ago my dream was to have AL and Ron on the court at the same time, I thought that was going to be the best defensive combo in the league, well it never materialized after two full seasons, partly because AL has lost something defensively.
Now he is a power forward defensively. I would be very reluctant to assume he can defend small forwards in the future and it will get worse each season