The Defensive Gem of the 2021 Draft
The perception of offense and defense in sports has always fascinated me. Offense is seen as the more glamorous and sought-after of the two, but “defense wins championships.” That said, cultivating both is paramount for the success of any team. However, there are some players in sports like basketball who are specialists, which make them incredibly sought after. There’s a player in the 2021 NBA Draft who fits the description of “defensive specialist” perfectly, and he’s the only player I care that the New York Knicks draft tonight: Usman Garuba.
Garuba hails from Madrid, born to Nigerian parents, and he might be the best, most ready-made defensive prospect to enter the draft in years. He’s played for Real Madrid for a couple years, exactly like Luka Doncic did, and has been a breakout star for the team. Now, do I expect Garuba to make the same meteoric impact that Luka did? Absolutely not. However, I expect that he’ll be a player that’ll make even the best power forwards’ lives miserable, provided he’s playing under the right coach.
That “right coach” part is key, and in my mind there’s only one coach that can maximize his defensive capabilities, and that man coaches my hometown New York Knicks: Tom Thibodeau. Thibodeau, or “Thibs,” might be one of the best defensive-minded coaches of the 21st Century, so giving him a player with the defensive caliber of Usman Garuba would be like giving a kid the best Christmas present.
Unfortunately, Garuba’s offensive skills are nothing special and they do need to be worked on. However, there’s two reasons why that doesn’t concern me. First, you’re not drafting him to score 20 points a night, you’re drafting him as a game-stopping defensive nightmare. Second, he’s only 19 years old, so there’s more than enough time for the Knicks coaches to mold his offensive game and improve it.
Simply put, I want Usman Garuba on the New York Knicks tonight and Scott Perry, the Knicks’ GM should too.