NEW ORLEANS - Are Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac on the verge of becoming the best defensive duo in the league?
If not the absolute best, are they at least about to become the most intimidating?
The two of them together create matchup nightmares for opponents. Just ask the Bucks, Hawks and Pelicans, none of whom were able to have any success against the suddenly scorching Magic over the last few nights largely because of this dynamic duo's defensive excellence.
Gordon and Isaac – 23 and 21 years old respectively – are great defenders for all sorts of reasons. They both are extremely athletic and long. They both move their feet well laterally. They each have supreme instincts and timing. They are both versatile enough to guard multiple positions. And they are passionate on the defensive end of the court.
Because they both possess each of the above qualities, it’s hard for opponents to shoot over them, drive on them or power through them.
Gordon’s individual defense on perennial All-Star Anthony Davis, who scored just three points and shot 1-of-9 from the field, was superb during Tuesday’s win in New Orleans.
This charge taken on fellow 2014 NBA Draft selection Julius Randle was also impressive.
Isaac, similarly, did a fantastic job contesting shots and sliding his feet whenever his opponent tried eluding him off the dribble.
He also had a tremendous block on Jahlil Okafar when it looked like the Pelicans’ starting center had an easy layup.
Everyone on the Magic is contributing one way or another on defense right now. Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier have shown to be vastly improved defenders and youngsters like Wes Iwundu, Isaiah Briscoe and Melvin Frazier Jr. are tenacious on that end of the floor.