Cooper Moorhead of Heat.com checked the advanced stats and found that Cole, as we have all been talking about, has been a beast on defense
Much more in the link including video breakdown of his D from the Hawks game.Of all players to have defended at least 100 possessions this season, Synergy Sports has Cole giving up the third-lowest points-per-possession in the entire league, just behind noted stalwart Tony Allen. That’s nice, but Synergy’s defensive numbers lack context. Cole could have been lucky enough to be the closest defender on 50 jump shots, simply as an example.
Here’s a better gauge of his effectiveness:
Focusing on the more highly regarded point guards Cole has defended this season, he has been on the courts against Deron Williams, Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague, Brandon Jennings, Raymond Felton and Goran Dragic for a total of 116 minutes. In that time, those points guards have shot 4-of-32 and scored 16 points. Put another way, the best six point guards Cole has faced are scoring 4.96 points per 36 minutes and shooting 12.5 percent with Cole on the floor.
Yes, he’s missed out on Kyrie Irving and Tony Parker – add Patrick Mills and Jeremy Pargo to the mix and Cole comes out even better – and he didn’t play much against the Grizzlies, but Cole can only defend the man in front of him. And so far, he’s been a giant in his own right.
“He’s a ball hawk,” Dwyane Wade said. “He keeps his body in front of guys. Sometimes his defense on the ball is so good that we can’t even get into what we’re trying to do because he’s so much on the ball. So we have to adjust to him a little bit.”
What Wade is getting at is that Cole has been so consistent staying on the ball, especially in pick-and-rolls, that sending an aggressive help defender at the ballhandler isn’t a necessity.
“We also have to be aggressive too,” LeBron James said. “We can’t just have one guy out there ball-hawking the ball and everybody else just relaxing. We all have to pick it up as well. I’m a defensive guy too, so I love when he comes in the game and picks up that tempo and pressure. It kind of activates our quick twitch as far as our defensive pressure.”