The Clippers' roster is choked with several relatively defenseless players: Brand, who can block shots coming to the ball from the weak side but can't guard anybody one on one who comes equipped with aggressive spin moves. Brand is too hungry to block shots and is easily faked off his feet. Also, Brand is frequently guilty of making tardy rotations and has difficulty in defense of high S/Rs.
That's fair, for the most part. The farther you pull Brand (and I'd add Kaman) away from the basket, the less effective he is. We all love EB's game, but he's part of the festering problem on rotations when opponents spread the floor against the Clippers. His failure to step out on Ron Artest in the April 8 game against Sacramento was arguably the pivotal defensive lapse for the Clips down the stretch in that game.
Both Mobley and Casell [sic] are awful defenders, with the latter being one of the worst at his position in the league. Kaman, like Brand, is much better closing on a shot than he is guarding anyone straight up. (Chris Wilcox also has the same tendencies.) Quinton Ross and James Singleton are often confused on defense.
Even though Maggette is the Clips' only outstanding defender, the team compensates by sagging into the lane and forcing opponents to shoot over their compacted defense. This strategy might prove fatal to the Nuggets' chances of advancing, since DerMarr Johnson, Greg Buckner and Earl Boykins are their only reliable 3-point shooters...
Maybe Rosen hasn't gotten a chance to watch Ross defend night in and night out, but Q is among the most complete defenders at the 2/3 that I've seen this season. "Often confused on defense" is a stretch for Singleton - who's been particularly effective on D down the stretch -- and an outright misstatement for Ross. I'd also add that Mobley has surprised me. Look, he's not a defensive maven, but he's a league-average on-ball defender. The only time he was badly outmanned this year was when Dunleavy played him at the 3, an experiment that was quickly vanquished.
If Rosen wildly underestimates Q's defensive prowess, he's far too kind to Maggette. As we've discussed here before, Maggette plays some smothering on-ball defense and is solid in getting back in transition, but is as culpable as anyone for the Clips' poor rotations in the half-court. Off-the-ball, he leaves much to be desired.
And I don't know if Rosen reads the wire, and maybe what he means to imply is that Wilcox's similar tendencies were what got him shipped out of town, but doesn't that Weezie reference throw you for a loop? Is Rosen aware that Wilcox isn't on the Clipper roster?
It's entirely possible I'm a shameless homer - though I've documented the recent Clipper defensive lapses as extensively as anyone - but it seems to me that a team that ranks 8th in the league in Defensive Efficiency (opponents points per 100 possessions), 4th in the league in opponents FG%, 1st in blocks, 3rd on the defensive glass can definitively be called a pretty good defensive squad, whether or not they have a bevy of top-tier one-on-one defenders.