"Defense Wins Championships" is a famous quote, which everyone in the world in basketball understands well. It's been proved countless times as it started with the Celtics dynasty of the 60's who had their own stealer presence in the paint in Russell, the 71' Lakers in Wilt, 94' Rockets in Hakeem and so on. These legends' play were crucial for the success of their teams in those years. Also there are plenty of others like Thurmond, Duncan, Mutombo and many stand out as well.

This points to a one thing. Having a quality defender in the interior is important and it brings so many things to the table. In today's NBA, there are plenty of talented young big man who are usually defensive minded and are ready to do what their heroes did decades ago. Dwight Howard is the leader of this group, and the rest are closely following him. Now, these days we have seen centers like Superman, Oden and so on go high on the draft because of their defense.

I decided to write about this interesting topic, so hopefully you'll enjoy in this and without further ado here are the 10 best interior defenders in the NBA for the next decade!

10.Andrew Bynum

In addition to his offensive dominance, Andrew Bynum has improved a lot on defense this season and he's overall a more dominant presence on the court.

He possesses excellent size, has a strong body which he uses to back down well, has those long hands, improved footwork and skills to add as well. He's also strong and athletic, another advantages that really help him out. Ever since the All-Star break, Drew is on a nice run as he's pulling down dozens of missed shots and swatting a lot of them.

In a recent 10 game period, he grabbed 15.6 rebounds and rejected 2.3 shot attempts through that time. Again, that's a sign of his so rapid improvement on this sign. He corrected in the areas where he struggled, and is now the Lakers Most Valuable Player. With him being a fantastic defensive presence, LA improved big time in the second half of the season.

Overall, i see him becoming dominant in this aspect. With Pau, Odom being old, it will open bigger playing time and his averages will be even more impressive. His averages should be around 11-12.5 rebounds with at least 2.0 blocks in game.

9.Joakim Noah

A very important player for the Chicago Bulls who was drafted to play defense, rebound, hustle, bring energy, Joakim Noah does all of those things and in high quality.

He's a smart center, who is tough, uses his long arms, has skills that make him a good presence on the court and his intensiveness is an another hidden yet still good skill of his. He's excellent shot blocker, and plays typical old school defense that bothers the shooter but he doesn't foul him. His timing is also very well, which is often the reason why he's making himself as a presence in the paint that helps the Bulls.

His rebounding, especially defensive is where he excels most. He boxes well out, understands the fundamentals, plays with so much passion and he often has many big rebounding games. He's among the 10 league leaders in that category, for already two years. His progress as an elite rebounder should continue.

His averages will be like 1.5 to 2.0 blocks a game with 11-12 rebounds. With Boozer in Chi-Town, he can now do things on defense that are not in the box score. So, he's very needed.

8.Kendrick Perkins

A strong, intimating presence in the paint, Kendrick Perkins is one of the best low post stoppers in the NBA. He's 6'10 and weights 280 lbs. As you can tell, he's big and has the body when someone wants to bag on him in the paint. He's also a skilled and capable stopper who made for years the Celtics defense tough. He's now helping OKC.

His toughness is obvious as he makes scoring in the paint difficult, forces the guards/forward who want to get inside points to take a contested and tough shot and is excellent in one on one situations. He's the best Dwight Howard defender in the league, who can take Dwight far from the hoop and slow him down. His work on the top center has earned him a big time respect from many fans around the league.

Perkins is a good shot blocker, who in the last two season ranked among the top 10 in blocked shots. Still, he does more things off the statistics and his impact is beyond huge. The Thunder now turn them selves into a serious contender with his addition.

7.Serge Ibaka

The sophomore from the Thunder who's a stealer of a defender despite being so little time in the league, Serge Ibaka is one of the top interior defenders as of now and for the future.

He's got amazing potential and he'll consistently improve into a better stopper. He's got superb athleticism, nice mobility, good frame and big wing span that he translates well. He's also a good leaper, who develops very quickly and has nice work ethic. His work gives nice results. He's arguably the top shot blocker this season, who ranks fourth overall with 2.4 swat shot attempts and is the league leader in totals. He's a fantastic presence in the paint.

He can play both Power Forward and Center without a problem, and is capable to step out and defend mobile big men as well. He additionally has the needed body to bang inside in the post, who often is a good defender against premier league players at his position. He's also a great presence on the glass, who often pulls down nice amounts of boards. His PER 36 minute stats are over 10 rebounds and 3 blocks.

His future averages should be near that if not better, who's progressing as an overall player and is the key player to Thunder's run at the NBA Championship!

6.Landry Sandres

One of the two rookies on this list, Larry Sanders is easily one of the future's top interior stoppers and one of the best defensive players for the next decade. He's a real impact maker with his abilities and has a nice potential.

Sanders is a physically gifted power forward, who can easily switch at center. Despite standing only 6'10, he's got outstanding athleticism, quickness, mobility for a player of his size and has a well built body to bang. He additionally posses a 7'6 wing span, so length will help him to bother and stop many shot attempts at the rim. He's got a nice timing and is an excellent presence, who's already a world class shot blocker.

He at one point during the regular season had the higher block stat per 48 minutes with impressive 4.64 in average. He also led all of the rookies throughout the bigger part, until Udoh took over. However, all of the named advantages are a reason why he's so effective as a shot challenger in the paint. He averages 1.3 blocks in limited action, even though he also plays with Bogut. He's already the top defender and blocker among all rookies with Udoh.

His role in Milwaukee is going to get bigger, as the young stud will be right there with former Baylor Bear top prospect for the honor of the best defensive power forward for the decade ahead of us. He'll be one of the finest blockers as well. He should be able to average 10 rebounds and well over 2 swat attempts a game and to form a powerful duo in the paint with team mate Bogut.

5.Javale McGee

One of the finest finishers in the league who's already a defensive beast for the Washington Wizards, Javale McGee is one of the best interior defenders in the league and for the decade ahead of us as well.

He possess excellent physical tools that make him a fantastic presence in his own paint. First of all, he's a seven footer who's blessed with amazing athleticism, large 7'4 wingspan which is of a big help, is a great leaper with high vertical jump and is a overall productive center. He's got also those massive hands which he uses to often keep the ball inbound after he swats some attempt.

He's averaging 2.4 blocked shots this season, who's second in the league right after Bogut. He had many highlights plays on the defensive end. He's also capable to handle his opponents in one on one duels inside, however he's much finer at helping his team mates as he can jump and get the shot. He usually keeps the ball after the rejection in inbound. His blocking tools are amazing. He's also a good presence on the glass, who can rebound in a nice quality.

McGee is a productive player, who in the future will grab around 10-11 boards per game with over 2.0 rejections as well. His work ethic is fine, so he'll work really hard to consistently improve and believe me, he will!

4.Andrew Bogut

One of the finest international players in the NBA now who as a player experienced everything, Andrew Bogut is one of the best defenders in the NBA and an easy choice for this list in he deserves to be.

His size, length, skills make him a worthy presence on both ends, who controls the paint in a fashion that barely few can match. He raised his defense this season, which is best to be told by the fact that he's the league leading shot blocker with 2.6 blocks per game. At one point of the season, he had 2.9 rejections. He's also fantastic in man to man stops, who also bothers many attempts near the rim. His positioning and timing are beyond than good.

He's a very good rebounder, who overall grabs well over 11 rebounds per game, including eight defensive as well. He's good at boxing out, has those long arms and big hands that he uses to clear the glass. He also takes a lot of charges, is rejecting shots left and right whose great play elevated the entire Bucks team into one of the best defensive teams in the league. So, his impact is more than obvious.

His production will continue to be around this level and he should be a dominant defender for the next decade!

3.Ekpe Udoh

The second rookie on the list who's easily one of the best future interior stoppers and overall defensive players, Ekpe Udoh already is the top defender in the Warriors who's showing to all that he's got a potential of a world class powerhouse on defense.

He's a power forward who can easily switch at center and still be effective at both positions. Standing at 6'10, he may be little undersized but then again, he weights 245 lbs and has a well built body to bang in the post bigger centers, and he's got a 7'4 wingspan as a help to bother and reject shots. Additionally to all of this, he's got an above average athleticism and a solid vertical jump of 34 inches. So, he possesses a bunch of qualities that make will make him a dominant defender for years to come.

For a first year player, he acts like he has been longer in the league because he doesn't bite on pump fakes which is another positive thing. He also affects many attempts near the rim, a part of the game which is not measured by statistics and he still does a lot of those little things. He can defend taller, bigger than him yet still get out and defend mobile big men, because he's a mobile center as well.

He's a terrific shot blocker, who in limited action averages 1.4 blocks and leads all rookies in this category. Ever since he's been a starter, he averaged well over 2.6 blocks, numbers that only the league leading blocker Bogut has. So, it's obvious that he'll be one of the best in that category, who should be able to continue to grab 11-13 rebounds and swat nearly three attempts per game.

He'll be the best defensive power forward with Sanders and overall top 5 in defense for the next decade.

2.Dwight Howard

The league's top big man as of now and the future who's dominating on both ends on the court, Dwight Howard is heading straight for the first ever 3 peat in Defensive Players Of The Year awards, a true recognition of his dominance in his own paint.

The thing about Superman is he's arguably physically the most gifted player in the NBA right now. He possesses a rare mix of strength, size and athleticism which made him a quality top tier player and very valuable contributor. Arguably, no one is also more athletic than him as well. He's got amazing vertical jump and his arms give him a long reach as it helps him a lot in blocking shots. It has made him in fact an all time great in shot blocking. He challenges attempts in a place where normally no one can, as he often helps out his team mates.

Howard is a terrific rebounder largely because of his physicality and position. He collects a bunch of them, who has the led in total rebounds more times than anyone else has. He has a pair of rebound crowns with averages of well over 13 and around 14 rebounds. He has won two block titles as well, with outstanding numbers, an aspect in which barely few are better but even that is debatable.

He set a Finals record with amazing nine rejections. He's still among the leaders in both categories, sitting in the top 3. His one on one defense is good, but not as his help defense which is the reason why he's on a streak to win 3 DPOY in a row. Hopefully, he wins them and his averages will be consistently great like they're now. He's got bright future.

1.Greg Oden

A dominant big man who's capable to dominate and change the game with his defense in the interior, Greg Oden when healthy is arguably the top post and overall defender who i think is going to be even the best for the future.

He's a 7 footer who's got size, excellent NBA type of body, athleticism, skills and instincts that he translates pretty well on the court. He's got nice length too, who's phenomenal in 1 on 1 situations and can easily stop other superstars/stars at his position. He's capable to bottle his man, while still help out others and still be a presence. He's a fantastic shot blocker, who when healthy could be arguably the finest of them all, who in his second year for a bigger part of the time until he went down led in overall average and in PER stat.

He played only 24 minutes in average then, but he was the most productive center in the NBA largely because of his interior defensive capability. He led all in per minute stats in couple of stats such as rebounds, blocks etc. He was a productive presence on the glass, who could pull down a ton of boards on both sides of the court. Again, to display his dominance, in the time when he was doing all of the things his coach asked, Portland was among the five top teams in the NBA who had a 8-0 run.

So, even though he's far from returning to the court, he's got all of the needed things and doesn't do big mistakes. He's got the talent, advantages, potential to be all time great and i think he's going to be. He needs to keep himself more on the court, in order to achieve that and he's got chances because of his defense.

By Darko Mihajlovski


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