Thorpe’s midseason defensive awards

And, by the numbers: the league’s most improved defenders.

BY DAVID THORPE

A lot of what I know about defense comes from football.

Growing up in Florida, football is a way of life. I played quarterback and linebacker and watched football as often as I could. Pounded into my brain was the idea of “next play.” The point is to have a short memory when it comes to failure. Getting beat for a touchdown is worth seven points and happens to everyone. Giving up seven, and getting in a mental rut, infects future plays. 

I wonder how many times I’ve told basketball players some version of “if getting dunked on is embarrassing to you, I recommend joining your local adult league—and avoid the NBA. You likely won’t face many dunkers that way. Otherwise, prepare to be posterized on occasion and enjoy the money that comes with it. All pros get dunked on, so welcome to the club.” 

Lesson one: understand it’s not going to be pretty. Price in the occasional humiliation. 

Lesson two is about teamwork. Bobby Knight is the living proof that the early days of basketbal…

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