Ranking the 5 best lockdown defenders on the Spurs roster

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Defense wins championships. We've all heard that adage before, and it rings true historically. Out of the last 40 NBA champions, only three of those squads were outside the top ten in defensive rating during the season they took home the Larry O'Brien Trophy. In fact, 25 of those teams ranked inside the top five in defensive rating for the year.

The NBA has seen an influx of buckets each and every season as the league office has bent the rules to make the game more offense friendly. While scoring numbers are rising, we should take some time to appreciate the other side of the ball. The San Antonio Spurs struggled on that end last season, but they added a handful of lockdown defenders this summer.

5.) Devin Vassell

Though all Spurs fans share a deep love for what Devin Vassell has done on the offensive end, no one should overlook what he brings defensively. He entered the NBA as a prospect known for his defense, but his reputation as a stopper has slipped as his scoring burden has skyrocketed. But with Popovich mentoring the young swingman, we could see him develop as time passes.

Vassell has an invaluable archetype. Standing 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, his length benefits him on both sides of the floor. He can recover back into position even when his man beats him off the dribble. And while he might not be a lockdown defender right now, Devin isn't afraid of doing the dirty work off the ball.

The fourth-year guard carries an excellent feel for the game defensively, knowing how to make timely rotations as a team defender. Devin gives 110% effort on almost every possession, routinely making the right reads to help create stops or turnovers. As he continues improving, learning how to best use his body, and maximizing his defensive upside, Vassell could become indispensable to this squad.

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