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The Top 5 Off-Ball Defenders in the NBA

Basketball is (maybe, hopefully) on the horizon. To help reintegrate us to a life of Giannis hammer dunks, James Harden dribbling for 24 seconds, and 76ers fans yelling at you for some reason, we’re rolling out top-five rankings in 20 different categories. Most of the rankings were voted on by The Ringer staff, but each day will feature one writer’s subjective skill-based list. The criteria for the best off-ball defenders can be simplified to this: Who would you feel best about having your back defensively? Here are the top five choices. 5. Jonathan Isaac, Magic Isaac is a Swiss Army knife defensively—he can switch out onto guards and cut off their attack, protect the rim, and play passing lanes at terrifying speeds for a near 7-footer.

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