Like any sport, defense is a vital part of winning games in basketball. Oftentimes, it is the major factor that separates average teams from elite teams. In fact, it’s not a coincidence that every year, the majority of NBA contenders have one top-tier defender.
Similarly, in NBA 2K22, you are more likely to find success and win more close games by using teams with high-end defensive players. Here, you’ll find all of the best defensive players in NBA 2K22.
Kawhi Leonard (Defensive Consistency 98)
Overall Rating: 95
Team: Los Angeles Clippers
Archetype: 2-Way Scoring Machine
Best Stats: 98 Defensive Consistency, 97 Lateral Quickness, 97 Help Defense IQ
Arguably one of the best lockdown defenders of this decade, Kawhi Leonard said by many to be the toughest player to play against in the NBA. Every time that he is on the floor, he disrupts the opposing team’s offensive rhythm and is a constant turnover threat.
Leonard is a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award winner and has been named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team three times in his career. The versatile defender can guard multiple positions and play from the two or the four.
With a 97 lateral quickness rating, he doesn’t have any problems in keeping up with smaller guards. Additionally, at 6’7’’ and 230lbs, he can also hold his own against bigger players in the paint.
In NBA 2K22, he has over 50 badges, including nine Gold and two Hall of Fame defensive badges. With Clamps equipped to the Hall of Fame tier, along with an 85 steal, he can be a nightmare to face. Ball handlers without the Unpluckable badge equipped should think twice before over-dribbling around “The Klaw.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Defensive Consistency 95)
Giannis Antetokounmpo is considered to be one of the most dominant players in the NBA today. At 6’11’’ and 242lbs, the “Greek Freak” can literally do it all, with size, speed, and athleticism to dominate in more than one way.
Over the past few seasons, Antetokounmpo has also been one of the most successful players in the association in terms of accolades. Winning back-to-back MVP awards (2019, 2020), the 2021 Finals MVP Award, and to top things off, he captured his first NBA Championship with the Milwaukee Bucks last season.
Not known as a great defensive player in his early career, the Bucks’ superstar has changed the narrative over the past three years, earning three consecutive First-Team All-Defensive honors, along with his first Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2020. Going forward, Antetokounmpo looks like a perennial contender to win the Defensive Player of the Year Award.
With a 95 perimeter defense and a 91 interior defense in 2K22, he is one of the most well-balanced defenders to use. Add that to a 95 lateral quickness and a 96 help defense, there isn’t much that he can’t do on the defensive end of the floor.
Joel Embiid (Defensive Consistency 95)
Overall Rating: 95
Team: Philadelphia 76ers
Archetype: Slashing Four
Best Stats: 98 Offensive Consistency, 98 Hands, 96 Interior Defense
When healthy, many consider Joel Embiid as a top-three center in the NBA. Despite battling injury problems throughout his career, Embiid has always put up great stats whenever he’s stepped onto the floor.
He is what many would call a “walking double-double.” With a career average of 24.8 points per game along with 11.3 rebounds, you don’t see him in the single digits very often. He’s averaged almost two blocks and one steal per game in his entire career, along with almost nine defensive rebounds per game.
On top of that, he is one of the most intimating paint defenders to play against on NBA 2K22. Embiid is a top-tier defensive center to use and arguably the most dominant all-around big to use as well.
With seven Gold defensive badges – including Brick Wall, Post Lockdown, and Intimidator – there aren’t many centers who can consistently score on Embiid near the basket.
Anthony Davis (Defensive Consistency 95)
Overall Rating: 93
Team: Los Angeles Lakers
Archetype: 2-Way Finisher
Best Stats: 98 Hustle, 97 Help Defense IQ, 97 Stamina
Since entering the league in 2012, Anthony Davis has proven himself to be one of the most talented power forwards in the game. It has been nearly ten seasons, and “The Brow” is still as dominant as ever.
Possessing the rare combination of skill, size, and high basketball IQ, the eight-time All-Star was a three-time block leader in the NBA. Many expect him to help the Los Angeles Lakers capture a few more championships before it’s all said and done.
With an overall rating of 93 and a total of 41 badges in 2K22, Davis does not have one glaring weakness. His 94 interior defense, 97 help defense IQ, and 97 stamina make him one of the best defenders in the game.
Rudy Gobert (Defensive Consistency 95)
Overall Rating: 89
Team: Utah Jazz
Archetype: Glass-Cleaning Lockdown
Best Stats: 98 Shot IQ, 97 Interior Defense, 97 Help Defense IQ
Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz is another high-end defensive center to use in NBA 2K22. Especially if you prioritize interior defense and paint protection, you can’t go wrong with the Frenchman.
Known as one of the best shot blockers in the game, Gobert has a career-high of 2.6 blocks per game and is still one of the most intimidating paint defenders in the game.
It’s fair to say that the Jazz center is one of the few throwback centers left in the game, one who is not afraid to battle in the trenches for a few extra possessions.
With a 97 interior defense, 97 help defense IQ, you can often find Gobert helping your team get extra steals by intercepting or deflecting passes that go through the middle.
Klay Thompson (Defensive Consistency 95)
Overall Rating: 88
Team: Golden State Warriors
Archetype: 2-Way Sharpshooter
Best Stats: 95 Defensive Consistency, 95 Three-Point Shot, 94 Overall Durability
Known as one of the best two-way shooting guards in the NBA, it’s not a surprise that Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors is among the best defenders on NBA 2K22.
His ability to knock down three-point shots at a high rate has been well documented and is reflected in 2K22, with Thompson boasting 19 shooting badges along with a 95 three-point rating. What makes Thompson special is his ability to be just as effective defensively.
With a 93 perimeter defense and a 93 lateral quickness, Thompson should help you win many close games with stellar play on both ends of the floor in 2K22. Knowing how to use Thompson can make him one of the most frustrating guards to play against.
Jrue Holiday (Defensive Consistency 95)
Overall Rating: 85
Team: Milwaukee Bucks
Archetype: 2-Way Shot Creator
Best Stats: 96 Lateral Quickness, 95 Perimeter Defense, 95 Defensive Consistency
Jrue Holiday was, perhaps, one of the most underrated defensive guards in the league over the past few years. Still, he officially put his name on the map after helping the Milwaukee Bucks capture the 2021 NBA Championship.
Playing alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo, another of the best defensive players in 2K22, the Bucks can give you an unfair advantage on defense against most teams in the game.
At only 6’3’’, Holiday is among the smaller players on this list. However, he is also one of the fastest defenders in the game. With a 96 lateral quickness, 95 perimeter defense, in terms of defenders, you’ll be getting the best of both worlds by having Holiday and Antetokounmpo on the floor at the same time.
With 10 Gold defensive badges and 15 total playmaking badges, Holiday is a very well-balanced guard who can not only play defense but also facilitate the ball on the other end of the floor.
All the best defenders in NBA 2K22
|Name||Defensive Consistency Rating||Height||Overall||Position||Team|
|Kawhi Leonard||98||6’7″||95||SF / PF||Los Angeles Clippers|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo||95||6’11”||96||PF / C||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Joel Embiid||95||7’0″||95||C||Philadelphia 76ers|
|Anthony Davis||95||6’10”||93||PF / C||Los Angeles Lakers|
|Rudy Gobert||95||7’1″||88||C||Utah Jazz|
|Klay Thompson||95||6’6″||88||SG / SF||Golden State Warriors|
|Jrue Holiday||95||6’3″||85||PG / SG||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Draymond Green||95||6’6″||80||PF / C||Golden State Warriors|
|Marcus Smart||95||6’3″||79||SG / PG||Boston Celtics|
|Patrick Beverley||95||6’1″||76||PG / SG||Minnesota Timberwolves|
|Jimmy Butler||90||6’7″||91||SF / SG||Miami Heat|
|Ben Simmons||90||6’10”||84||PG / PF||Philadelphia 76ers|
Now you know exactly which players you can use to help you dominate defensively on NBA 2K22.