Tuesday is apparently "National Media Writes About The Wizards" day. In this piece, Sports Illustrated's Rob Mahoneywrites about the Wizards' elite defense, ranked in the top 10 all season and in the top five since John Wall's return. Mahoney attributes most of the unit's success to the tandem of Emeka Okafor and Nene.
Over those last 15 games, Washington has planted a flag as the second best defensive team in the league. Suffice to say that success doesn't all hinge on Wall; the real epicenter of Washington's highly functional defense is, unsurprisingly, its big men. Nene and Emeka Okafor have become a truly fantastic defensive tandem, capable of corralling ball handlers and protecting the rim as a joint operation. Nene can trap hard on a screen if need be, or help out to block shots on the backline. Okafor can take a perfect angle in defending the pick-and-roll, or step up to challenge a shot at the rim if the on-ball defense breaks down. Their combined defensive skill makes them virtually interchangeable, and thus incredibly valuable to a defense that gives its perimeter players a ton of help in controlling ball action on the perimeter.