Some players never need motivation to get into a defensive stance and deny their opponent. Whether using their quickness or length, they are there to disrupt and wear down their foes and to help their team regain the ball.
The players best at filling those roles will find their names in the conversation to become the EuroLeague Best Defender Trophy winner at the end of the season. Here are my top 10 candidates to capture the award for 2023-24.
10. Arnas Butkevicius, Zalgiris Kaunas
No opponent wants to play the pick-and-roll when Butkevicius is around because he is the master of switching, and can guard any position, point guard through center. He is the anchor of the Zalgiris defense.
9. Serge Ibaka, FC Bayern Munich
The only thing stopping Ibaka from being higher on this list is time. He was a late addition for Bayern and has not played a EuroLeague game in more than a decade. After he adjusts, Ibaka should be a premier paint protector.
8. Kyle Hines, EA7 Emporio Armani Milan
Now entering his 14th EuroLeague campaign, the 27-year-old Hines may have seen a dip in minutes, but the three-time EuroLeague Best Defender is still as good a defender as there is. His combination of speed, strength and experience makes him tough to get past.