According to Thunder players and coaches, here are the primary factors in becoming a good defender:
- Contesting every shot.
- Ability to deny your opponent the ball.
- Keeping your opponent away from his comfort area.
- Wingspan at least four inches longer than your height.
- Maintaining a physical presence.
- Constant effort and desire.
NBA TOP 10 PERIMETER DEFENDERS
1. Tony Allen (Memphis) 6-4, 213: Former Oklahoma State standout mentioned frequently by several Thunder players and personnel.
2. Kobe Bryant (LA Lakers) 6-6, 205: He has been first-team all-defensive selection eight times in 11 seasons, including the last five.
3. Thabo Sefolosha (Thunder) 6-7, 215: His toughness, focus, effort and condor-like 7-foot wingspan put him among the league's elite.
4. Shane Battier (Memphis) 6-8, 220: Replaces Allen off the bench, which brings little relief for standout scorers against the Grizzlies.
5. Ron Artest (LA Lakers) 6-7, 260: He's a two-time, first-team selection, but also has been ignored as a choice in several other seasons.
6. Nicolas Batum (Portland) 6-8, 200: In just his third season, this 22-year-old Frenchman has quickly earned the respect of his peers.
7. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Milwaukee) 6-8, 230: A UCLA product and versatile defender with a wing span as long as his name.
8. Trevor Ariza (New Orleans) 6-8, 210: A UCLA product who has been in demand, having played for five teams in seven seasons.
9. Arron Afflalo (Denver) 6-5, 215: A UCLA product excelling for the Nuggets who is about to cash in on the fruits of his hard labor.
10. Kirk Hinrich (Atlanta) 6-4, 190: A former first-team all-defensive pick who joined the Hawks to give them a defensive presence.
Thunder vs. Timberwolves
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Oklahoma City Arena.
TV: FS Oklahoma (Cox 37, HD Ch. 722).
Radio: WWLS 98.1-FM, WWLS 640-AM.