On Tuesday night in the NBA TV studio, Hall of Fame point guard Gary Payton gave his opinion on who the top five defensive guards in the league are today.
Payton, nicknamed “The Glove” and a nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection during his career, gave a very solid list of guards: Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets, Patrick Beverley of the L.A. Clippers, Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics, Rajon Rondo of the New Orleans Pelicans, and rookie Lonzo Ball of the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I always go with the OG’s first. I’ll go with the OG’s. I’m gonna go with Chris Paul,” Payton said. “Everybody really don’t understand that he’s not really an on-the-ball defender, but he’s almost like a Deion Sanders. He’s in everywhere. He’s getting interceptions, he’s getting his hands on the ball, he’s doing all that.”
When it comes to aggressiveness with a one-on-one defender, Payton did not hesitate to go with Beverley as one of his picks.
“The guy that I think is the greatest on-the-ball player is Beverley,” Payton said. “Beverley can be on the ball, he can hawk you and can do things. He wants to turn you and make it hard for you to do everything.”
He went on to rave about Smart and the veteran choice in Rondo, but his final choice showed all the confidence he has in Ball already as a 20-year-old rookie.
“I think that in a couple of years, I think he can be a great basketball player,” Payton said of Ball. “I think in the summer what he has to do is to go and work at his game, but on this end on defense he’s so long and he stays with you.”
A video of Payton’s top five defensive guards with commentary, which was uploaded to Twitter by NBA TV, can also be viewed down below.
Gary Payton shares his current top 5️⃣ defensive guards… 💪
Do you agree with The Glove's list? #GameTime pic.twitter.com/nX7HK4Y8Bd
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 27, 2018
How many of Payton’s choices do you agree with? Who deserves to be left off this list and who should replace them? It’s definitely a topic worth debating.