Andre Roberson season review: The defensive master

Andre Roberson, OKC Thunder (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Andre Roberson, OKC Thunder (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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Andre Robertson
MILWAUKEE, WI – OCTOBER 31: Andre Roberson #21 of the OKC Thunder reacts to a play against the Milwaukee Bucks on October 31, 2017 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Tapes don’t lie

Below are two clips from contests against the Houston Rockets during the regular season. One game Roberson played, the other he missed due to injury.

At the beginning of the play, James Harden does his signature handling routine. When Harden starts at the key he typically drives or steps back. In this particular clip Harden elects to drive, once that decision is made, Melo got beat and there was no help defense.

The next clip is from the Thunder’s matchup with the Rockets on Christmas Day. It is similar to the previous play, except Roberson is guarding Harden rather than Carmelo Anthony.

Unlike Melo, Roberson does not get beat by Harden. Consequently, it allows Adams to help, ultimately forcing Harden to throw Clint Capela a tough lob.

Stacking up with other elite defenders

Wednesday night during the pregame show on TNT before Game 2 of the Western Conference finals the NBA revealed their award finalists. No Thunder players made the cut. Although former OKC players Harden and Victor Oladipo are nominees in two separate categories.

The three finalist for defensive player of the year (DPOY) are Rudy Gobert, Draymond Green, and Anthony Davis. This peaked my curiosity. All three players are deserving of DPOY honors, yet how Andre Roberson compares to them is intriguing.

  • Draymond, Defensive rating 103.7, Net rating: plus-8.9
  • Davis, Defensive rating 103.4, Net rating: plus-5.4
  • Gobert, Defensive rating 97.7, Net rating: plus-8.3
  • Roberson, Defensive rating 96.4, Net rating: plus-10.1

These four players arguably make up the best four defenders in the NBA, although Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, and LeBron James may disagree. Each of the four defenders possess different defensive strength making them elite.

As for Roberson, barring injury his name must appear in the conversation for DPOY next season.