Skip to main content

Doug Christie’s 3 tips on how to defend well in the NBA

Christie emphasised the importance of playing with mental and physical aggressiveness to contain star players of other teams
2021 Sacramento Kings acting coach Doug Christie

Doug Christie

Many youngsters focus on scoring and 3-point shooting to make it in the NBA. Blame Steph Curry and Klay Thompson for that. But you can also make it in the pros if you defend well and play your role to perfection, just like Doug Christie.

The lost art of defending

Defense is often overlooked now in the ear of analytics, spacing, and outside shooting. Rule changes also impacted the game, and the art of defense is slowly fading away.

Back in the day, the no blood, no foul rule existed. Michael Jordan had been the target of the Bad Boys Pistons era, and they had no choice but to give hard fouls to contain him. But as the game evolved, players have become more mental in their approach rather than physical. A defender must be one step ahead of his opponent and be prepared for any counters. A great offensive player has a deep bag of tricks, so containing Plan A isn’t going to finish the job. A defender must also be prepared for Plan B, C, D, etc.

The likes of Doug Christie, Tayshaun Prince, Bruce Bowen, and Raja Bell all made a career as defensive specialists. They sacrificed their numbers and played their roles well. Christie played in the NBA for 15 seasons, including five with the Sacramento Kings, where he became a household name and a lockdown defender. He now shared some tricks when it comes to limiting the opponent’s production.

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Doug Christie’s 3 defensive tips

There’s a reason why Doug was named to three selections to the NBA All-Defensive Second Team and one selection to the NBA All-Defensive First Team: he studied his opponents and prepared himself mentally.

The Seattle, Washington native claims defenders must have short-term memory. This will enable them to focus on the next play. Great players will still score, no matter how hard you defend. Quickly forgetting and focusing on the next play is a must for Christie.

"Players are going to score, especially in today’s game," Doug said. "When someone gets a bucket on you, you can’t take that to the other end of the floor with you. You can’t get into that ‘mano a mano’ battle – it’s a team game. If Kobe [Bryant] has 40 on me, I can’t take each and every bucket and all the different things that go along with it to heart. So if you play great defense and he plays good offense and just knocks down an incredible shot, your memory has to quit and you have to shut it off at that particular moment so you can move on to the next play.”

The former Kings forward also stressed the importance of team communication. For Doug, great defensive teams communicate not only verbally but also non-verbally. Last but not least, a good defender must have anticipation.

“When you talk about anticipation for basketball, I don’t want this to get confused with cheating or over-playing. Elite defenders have anticipation. They can read things before they happen just like a point guard with the basketball. Because a lot of times, when you see something in front of you, it’s done and it’s too late,” Christie said.

So for those hoping to make it in the pros, focusing on the basics and defending could take you to places too. Not everyone could be the next Steph, Kevin Durant, or Thompson, so if the offense is not your calling card, it's better to develop defense and be good at it. 

kobe-bryant-dunk-on-dwight-howard

“I didn’t think he was going to dunk!”-Dwight Howard recollected his ‘Welcome to the League’ moment featuring Kobe Bryant

Dwight Howard has high praise for Kobe Bryant, despite the fall-out in his first stint with the Lakers

Luka Doncic & Giannis Antetokounmpo

The 2022-23 GM SURVEY reveals who the GMs consider being the MVP and title favourites

Giannis Antetokounmpo voted best defender, international player, and player to build a franchise around

giannis-jrue-kris-richard-jefferson

Richard Jefferson thinks the Milwaukee Bucks have the best Big 3 in the NBA

The Milwaukee Bucks Big Three has championship pedigree says Richard Jefferson

Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge

“Tree Bites Man” — when Danny Ainge almost lost a finger in the 1983 playoffs

The Boston Herald came up with one of the funniest headlines of all time.

Boston Celtics head coach Red Auerbach

“How many of these you consider ethical or unethical depends entirely on your organization.” — 4 moves from Red Auerbach's "57 Strategies" that players still do today

LeBron James, Chris Paul, and James Harden are just some of the greats who have picked up a thing or two from the great Red Auerbach.

Dwight Howard and Shaquille O'Neal

How Dwight Howard wants to settle his beef with Shaquille O'Neal: "I've got some jokes for his big ugly ass!"

In the episode of All the Smoke podcast, Dwight was asked about his relationship with Big Diesel and shared how he would like to settle their beef

LeBron James, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal

”I can truthfully say that I'm jealous of that feat“ — Shaquille O'Neal on LeBron James potentially passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on the NBA All-time scoring list

If he averages 27.1 points (his career average) every game and doesn't sit one out, LeBron will pass Kareem on January 25th.