2021 NBA Season: 3 Worst Defenders

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The defense played throughout the 2021 NBA season has been highlighted by the two favorites for defensive players of the year, Ben Simmons and Rudy Gobert. However, there have been some players who have had seasons to forget on the defensive side of the ball. Looking at some individual player defensive stats, the definitive worst three defenders of the 2021 NBA season were chosen.

2021 NBA Season Honorable Mentions

Anthony Edwards

Defensive Real Plus/Minus (DRPM): -3.70
Defensive Rating (DRTG): 117
Defensive Win Shares (DWS): 0.9

Why Edwards cracks the list in his rookie season is that his DRPM and DRTG are some of the worst in the NBA. His DRPM of -3.70 ranks fifth-worst in the entire NBA, so the rookie out of Georgia’s spot as an honorable mention is warranted.

Kevin Porter Jr.

DRPM: -4.84
DRTG: 116
DWS: 0.4

Kevin Porter Jr.’s return to the NBA, this season with the Houston Rockets has been nothing short of exciting. Averaging almost 16 points a game along with 6 assists, Houston might have found a key piece of their rebuild. Looking defensively, it is a different story. Porter’s DRPM of -4.84 ranks dead last for the 2021 NBA season, and his DRTG is one of the worst this season as well.

However, there is hope for KPJ. The Rockets have been one of the worst defenses in the NBA for this season, so another year with the team should allow for Porter to improve. Standing at 6’4″ with a 6’9″ wingspan, Porter has the potential to defend both guards and forwards. Now fans just await a jump to the next level from Porter Jr.

The Three Worst of 2021

#3: Marvin Bagley III

DRPM: -0.86
DRTG: 118
DWS: 0.3

The stats for the former Duke big man do not show that he is one of the worst defenders in the 2021 NBA season. But watching Bagley and the 30th ranked team in DRTG, it is no coincidence that Bagley falls into the conversation for worst defenders of the 2021 NBA season. Add in that opposing players shoot a whopping 53% against him, and fans get to watch one of the worst defensive big men in the NBA.

#2: Anfernee Simons

DRPM: -2.94
DRTG: 120
DWS: 0.1

The only reason Simons is not higher on this 2021 NBA Season worst defenders list is due to the number of minutes he plays in comparison to #1 and #2. In the minutes he has played this season, the 2021 dunk contest winner’s undersized frame has been exploited. Simons possesses one of the worst DRPMs in the NBA and his DRTG of 120 ranks in the bottom ten percent of the league.

No question for Simons cracking the list, as the Portland guard is often exposed on the perimeter and cannot rise up and defend other guards while on the court.

#1: D’Angelo Russell

DRPM: -3.23
DRTG: 118
DWS: 0.3

Although Russell has a better DRPM than some of the others stated on the list, Russell’s DRTG is one of the worst throughout the 2021 NBA season. Anfernee Simons is the only name on the list with a worse rating, yet Russell plays twice the amount of minutes as Simons does for Portland and has a comparable defensive rating.

Russell has not been healthy this season, but when on the court, the Timberwolves are 9-21 and giving up an average of just about 118 points a game. That would rank second-worst in comparison only behind the Kings. The former Buckeye has never been known for his defense, but it has only gotten worse since joining Minnesota.

Congratulations on leading the list of infamy, D’Angelo Russell. Minnesota’s 2021 NBA season is one of the worst defensively in recent history, and the head of the snake is a big reason why!


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