NBA Power Rankings: Listing the 10-Best Defensive Teams

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10. Houston Rockets

October 15, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard Jeremy Lin (7) plays defense during the third quarter against the San Antonio Spurs at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

 The Rockets were an incredibly average defensive team in the 2012-13 season. They had a defensive rating of 106.1 (16th in the league) and 102.5 points allowed (27th) but with a pace of 96.1 possessions, the Rockets did not have as porous a defense as their numbers looked.

Jeremy Lin and James Harden are an undersized backcourt duo that play at a pace that forgives defensive mistakes. Chandler Parsons and Patrick Patterson are no defensive wizards either. That’s where Dwight Howard comes in.

In the 2012-13 season, Howard had a defensive rating of 100. With Howard on the floor, the opponents had an offensive rating of 105.5. With Howard off the floor, that offensive rating skyrocketed to 110.5. A healthy Dwight Howard is a game changer on the defensive end of the court.

Expect the Rockets to be in the top-10 in terms of defense. As long as Lin and Harden can funnel their opponents into the paint, Howard should be able to cover their liabilities and then some.

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