J.B. Bickerstaff excited about ability to put 2 Defensive Player of the Years on court together
Memphis Grizzlies head coach J.B. Bickerstaff is excited about the possibility of putting two Defensive Player of the Year awardees together on the same court. With the team’s recent acquisition of Joakim Noah, Bickerstaff has shored up his frontline defense that’s led by All-Star center Marc Gasol.
Omari Sankofa II of The Athletic wrote about Noah’s return to the league for the Grizzlies, including Bickerstaff’s comments on how the 2014 DOPY awardee could contribute to the team.
“When was the last time you were able to put two defensive player of the years on the floor together?” Bickerstaff asked. “We have the opportunity to do that. Two guys that are versatile defensively that are extremely intelligent, do a great job of protecting the paint, do a great job of communicating. I think we’re in a unique situation, again, building on the mindset that we want to be a defensive-minded team to bring in that caliber of a defender and be able to put him next to Marc, the level that Jaren, [JaMychal Green], those big guys are playing at. I think it’s huge for us.”
The Grizzlies’ success this season is mainly due to a top-tier defense that currently ranks 1st in the league. Their culture of grit and toughness is on full display as they have been clamping on opponents’ offensive schemes. With Noah on board, he will not only improve an already-excellent defense but could also contribute on the other end of the floor.
Like Grizzlies big man Gasol, Noah is a proven playmaker from the post and is likely to share some minutes with the Spaniard big man on the same floor.