Cason Wallace’s College Defense Translates
Cason Wallace resembled Jrue Holiday lite at the college level, and OKC traded up to draft the defensive stud from Kentucky.
Wallace absolutely hounded off-ball guards while disrupting the point of attack. His upper body strength allowed him to push through screens, and he routinely frustrated ball handlers with his excellent mirroring technique and disruptive hands.
Perhaps his most unheralded defensive trait was occasional rim protection, as Wallace’s hustle and anticipation fueled crucial blocks against much larger opponents.
This skill set for guards is critical for maintaining defensive integrity in the modern NBA because centers are now spacing the court and pulling rim protectors out of the paint.
It’s always tricky for guards to immediately catch up to the NBA’s speed and talent, but Cason Wallace may be an exception. Considering OKC’s other bench guards (Micic, Joe, Mann, Waters III) are below average defensively, Wallace can torment the opposing sixth man and inject necessary defense into the unit.
The Thunder could also swap Lu Dort with Wallace in certain situations if head coach Mark Daigneault opts for more shooting and ball handling without experiencing a dramatic defensive hit.
The OKC Thunder have the potential to be one of the best defenses in the entire NBA, and if these dream scenarios come true, they will certainly hit that mark.