Relative Importance Of Superior Offense Vs. Superior Defense In NBA Playoffs



While it's ideal for a team to be both the best offensive and best defensive team in the league, if you had to pick either superior offense or superior defense to have in the NBA playoffs, which one would you pick, with the other category being average? This is a tough question and has been debated by sports analysts in depth. In this article, we'll provide you with our thoughts on which one we'd go with along with our reasoning.

The Case For Choosing Superior Offense

Simply put, if an offensive player or team is rolling full head of steam and can't seem to miss, there's little that the opposing team's defense can do to stop, or even slow down, the offensive onslaught. In the game of basketball, in order to win, you have to be able to score, and more importantly, more than the opposing team. If a team is able to score at will, defenses can only do so much.

The Case For Choosing Superior Defense

In sports, especially in football and basketball, the saying is that "defense wins championships". For a team with a superior defense, they'll always know that they can rely on their defense when the going gets rough. For example, when shots are not falling, they will be able to fall back on their defense to at least keep them in the game. Additionally, in close games, a team's ability to get a stop, and more importantly, to get consecutive stops become all the more important. In basketball, defense leads into offense, and it'd be crucial for a team with championship aspirations to also be a superior defensive team.

The Case Against Choosing Superior Offense

We all know that there's always stretches where even a superior offensive team will go into a drought, with shots that they normally make turning into misses. When this happens, especially during crucial times, this can really impede a team's ability to get anything going since their superior offense has stalled and they're suddenly finding out that they're not able to get stops consistently with their average defense. This can turn into a world of trouble for the offensive minded team, especially if their offensive drought comes at a bad time.

The Case Against Choosing Superior Defense

It's a fact that in order to win in basketball, you must be able to put the ball in the basket. For teams who pride themselves on defense, it doesn't really matter if the team is able to consistently get stops - if the stops turn into misses on the other end of the floor, it'd be (mostly) all for nothing. At the end of the day, you must be able to score and teams that focus too much on defense tend to give up a lot on the offensive end. Sometimes, even all-time great defensive teams must tip their hats to a player who catches fire and is able to put any shot into the net no matter what the defense throws at him. If and when this happens, a superior defensive team will feel extremely deflated, especially if they're unable to answer with baskets of their own.

The Verdict

While high offense showings are always fun to watch in NBA playoff games, if we had to choose one - superior offense or superior defense - our pick would go to superior defense. Being great on defense is more about the game plan, execution, and effort. On the other hand, no matter how hard you try to make a shot sometimes, there'll be times where you just feel cold and that every shot is either short or long. Defense is an aspect of the game that's much more controllable and getting stops can in turn provide a team with a newfound confidence in their offensive abilities as well.