Offense wins games, but defense wins Championships, and people that tell you otherwise simply have no idea of what they’re saying, even in this modern era of the fast pace and three-point shooting basketball.
Having a strong defensive unit is a must in today’s NBA and no team is going to be able to even think about competing unless they click in the defensive end of the floor, that’s absolutely out of the question.
And, even though it’s still pretty early in the season, there have been some lineups that have already shown that are never going to work and are a major disaster. Today, we’re going to talk about the top 10 worst defensive starting fives in the league.
10. Los Angeles Clippers – 75.0 points
Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Marcin Gortat
The fact that those really 3 good defenders in their backcourt and Harris make this list is a bit of a surprise. Nonetheless, the Clippers have surprised most people with their 5-4 record despite not featuring much offensive talent.
Even though, in 30.5 minutes playing together, this lineup is allowing opponents to score 75.0 points, grab over 30 boards and hand out as much as 18 dimes a night while shooting 43% from the floor.
9. Chicago Bulls – 75.3 points
Cameron Payne, Zach LaVine, Justin Holiday, Jabari Parker, Wendell Carter Jr
The Chicago Bulls are still going through a rebuilding process, so the fact that these youngsters are allowing opponents to score 75.3 points to go along with 28.9 boards and 16.9 assists a night is no surprise.
Also, the Bulls are currently starting some guys that were supposed to come off the bench but that lineup is likely to change once Kris Dunn, Bobby Portis and Lauri Markkanen are back and healthy.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers – 75.3 points
George Hill, Rodney Hood, Cedi Osman, Sam Dekker, Tristan Thompson
The Cleveland Cavaliers have absolutely nothing to play for this season other than developing young talents and looking ahead to the Draft, and they’re currently allowing their rivals to score 75.3 points per games in just over 28 minutes a night.
Also, the Cavaliers are still trying to figure out which lineup works out the most for them, but so far, everything has been a major disaster. Hopefully, they start giving Collin Sexton starter minutes pretty soon.
7. Washington Wizards – 75.4 points
John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter Jr, Markieff Morris, Dwight Howard
The Washington Wizards have been a disaster in both ends of the hardwood, but defense has been their biggest issue, as they’re letting their rivals shoot 53% from the floor and score 75.4 points a night in just 27 minutes.
This team is set to have a lot of free agents next season, so motivation to play for the sake of the team and not for the money may not be there at all. So far, they’ve been busier pointing fingers at each other than actually trying to get stops.
6. New Orleans Pelicans – 77.7 points
Jrue Holiday, E’twaun Moore, Wesley Johnson, Nikola Mirotic, Anthony Davis
The Pelicans were on a roll before Anthony Davis was forced to miss some time with injuries (as usual), but even though their defense has been mediocre (77.7 points and 49% shooting in 28 minutes), their offense has been able to bail them out.
Even so, we feel like this team isn’t starting the right guys right now, and up to this day, they’ve mostly rolled with Jrue Holiday, E’twaun Moore, Wesley Johnson, Nikola Mirotic and Anthony Davis while Elfrid Payton is sidelined with the injury.
5. San Antonio Spurs – 78.0 points
Bryn Forbes, DeMar DeRozan, Dante Cunningham, Rudy Gay, LaMarcus Aldridge
Lately, the Spurs were struggling to score some points but thrived off their defense, but that trend has changed nowadays as the team’s starting five has been horrible in defense allowing opponents to score 78.0 points in 50% from the floor.
The new look Spurs are still taking shape and trying to figure out ways to make the transition to the post-Kawhi Leonard era, and they’re currently starting a third-string point guard due to injuries.
4. Utah Jazz – 78.6 points
Ricky Rubio, Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert
Surprisingly, the Utah Jazz have been one of the worst defensive starting fives in the league, quite a shock considering they’re starting the very same starting five they had last season when they were one of the toughest defenses in the league.
Despite the presence of 3 very solid defenders in their starting five, this unit has been torched for 78.6 points in 31.1 minutes a night, allowing opposing teams to shoot 47% from the floor while grabbing 28 boards a night.
3. Minnesota Timberwolves – 79.7 points
Jeff Teague, Josh Okogie, Andrew Wiggins, Taj Gibson, Karl-Anthony Towns
The Minnesota Timberwolves have gotten off to a shaky start of the season ever since they were knocked out of the playoffs, and things haven’t gotten any better with Jimmy Butler blatantly sitting out.
This team hasn’t been able to find any kind of consistency whatsoever, and their starting five has been lit up for 79.7 points in 49% shooting in just over 29 minutes a night. So much for Tom Thibodeau who is a defensive guru.
2. Dallas Mavericks – 80.1 points
Dennis Smith Jr, Luka Doncic, Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes, DeAndre Jordan
The Dallas Mavericks have made strides to try and find a way to put together a nice squad and come back to the playoffs, but that’s definitely not going to happen if they continue to allow their rivals to score 80.1 points on 49% shooting in 32 minutes a night.
The Mavericks are still missing a couple of pieces so they’re likely to turn the table any time soon. Still, once Dirk Nowitzki comes back from injury, he’s unlikely to step into the starting lineup.
1. Los Angeles Lakers – 81.3 points
Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, JaVale McGee
And by far the worst and most disappointing starting lineup has been the one the Lakers have shown so far, as they’re currently allowing a league-worst 81.3 points, 32.4 rebounds and 15.6 assists a night to their rivals.
So far, that experiment featuring a big lineup has miserably failed, and the team is allowing opponents to shoot over 48% from the floor and almost 40% from three. They just haven’t been able to get stops, and that’s going to put a lot of pressure on Luke Walton’s shoulders.