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Better on-ball Defender Conley vs Craft?

Firedup's picture
February 7, 2014 at 7:38pm





So recently in talking about the current team, the merits of the effectiveness of Aaron Craft's defense was brought up.  Someone else mentioned they believed Mike Conley to be better on-ball defender.  While acknowledging Craft holds the steals record, the case for Conley is that he could take his man out of the game from driving and shooting much better than Craft.   It was argued that Conley only stayed one year so he cant truly be better.  So I ask you 11W who is the better on ball defender you would take for your team?
(P.S. this occurred with my girlfriend) 

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rosycheeks's picture

Craft. Conley was very good, and maybe better off the ball. I'll take craft on the ball.

+4 HS
kareemabduljacobb's picture

Well comparing freshman seasons, Conley had 87 steals and 10 blks.  Craft had 73 steals and 4 blks.  I'd probably take Conley if it was based on playing all 4-years.  By the time Conley would have been a senior he would have been dominant on both ends.  

+5 HS
BHT's picture

Craft did not start his freshman season. Had we started, and he got the minutes he is getting now, Craft would have had more steals. As for blocks, I have not exactly seen Craft block so I will not comment on that.

I would take Craft's defense but I do like Conley's game.

kareemabduljacobb's picture

That may be true, he was still 5th in mins averaging about 30 mins/gm his frosh yr.

+1 HS
Bolt's picture

Steals and blocks aren't always the greatest indicators of on ball defense. They're good indicators, but just as often a guy is a dominant on ball defender and racks up those numbers, a guy can be a great off the ball defender and rack up all those numbers. Since the question was specifically best on ball defender I'm going with Craft. Conley was extremely quick and racked up a lot of steals shooting gaps and reading cutters and jumping the passing lane for steals. Craft is unbelievably relentless at staying in front of people and uses his body and strength very well. Amazing footwork as well, there's no wasted steps or motions.

+1 HS
Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Craft. Sorry but staying only one year leaves you off a lot of all time and best lists       

Read my entire screen name....

+6 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

So by that rationale, Oden wasn't very good either...and Jared Sullinger wasn't nearly as good as Treg Lee and Terrance Dials right?

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

Phoenix824's picture

He did not say they were not good.    Just that they would not be considered an all time great.  

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

a. The whole state of Iowa should be forced to view these pics.

b. Marry aforementioned girlfriend.

c. Craft wants to suffocate ball-handlers, while Conley knew his role as a distributor/scorer necessitated wearing down an opponent without getting too many fouls. This is why I see a window for Crafty in the NBA; isolate him on guys and force turnovers.

+6 HS
redfox's picture

Craft on defense  Conley on offense.

+3 HS
buckeyebowhunter's picture

Craft.  That is all.

+1 HS
Waltbuck's picture

Lean Craft because he is the most relentless on defense of the two.

+1 HS
SaltyD0gg's picture

Conley would take your lunch money. Craft will take your soul.

Pain of Discipline

Pain of Regret

Take Your Pick

+4 HS
jeremytwoface's picture


Because, #SWOON.

And when we win the game, we'll buy a keg of boooooooooze!! And we'll drink to old Ohio 'till we wobble in our shoes.

gumtape's picture

They are both elite level defenders. If you look at Conley now as a borderline all-star (he would make the team if he played in the eastern division). And all NBA defensive team last year and the fact that he is more athletic I would take Conley over craft. Since the question is purely regarding defense you have to go with craft.

High and tight boo boo

BuckeyeRealist13's picture

Without a doubt it was Conley. Conley was much quicker and faster than AC. AC admited himself that if Conley had stayed for four years, there would be no way he could touch his steals record. 

"You're damn right thats daddy" - Urban Meyer 

+1 HS
Idaho Helga's picture

Conley.  If we would have had him even 3 years...   <sighs heavily>

jamesrbrown322's picture

Conley, and it's not that close really. Conley had better footwork, speed and quickness. Part of defense, IMO, is also the ability to lead the break after a turnover, and Conley was vastly superior to Craft in that respect. Craft is more physical, but that's b/c with Conley's quickness, he didn't need to be.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

+1 HS
Mortc15's picture

I would slightly take Craft for a few reasons. One, the question doesn't talk about translating defense into offense or off-ball defense. No one in America is better at 1-on-1 defense than AC and although Conley was a better all-around player and much quicker, I think AC is the better defender. Two, although this may not be a fair reason to Conley- how many games has Craft's defense had a direct correlation to a win at the end of a game? Conley only played 1 season but he also played with far superior talent around him and his defense was not very often a huge, deciding factor in games like Craft's is.

This is a green or red apple debate though. Can't go wrong with either of them.


+2 HS
RoyWalley's picture

Conley by a mile, not even close.

-2 HS
gm3jones's picture

"Not even close" Really? I highly doubt that. I read a report that said AC went to the Cavs training camp and Kyrie asked him to guard him and AC did so admirably! He said his D is NBA worthy for sure.

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

+1 HS
OldColumbusTown's picture

Pure defense, on the ball - Craft without a doubt.  Craft has the best feet and hands I've ever seen guarding the ball.  He also is better than anyone at understanding what his man (with the ball) wants to do, or where he wants to get on the court, and not letting him do it.  Craft also studies/scouts his mark, understands tendencies, and follows through on that scouting report better than anyone else I've seen.

Conley was an extremely great on-ball defender, and even better at getting steals off the ball or as a secondary defender.  He was also much better offensively as a distributor, finisher, and scorer.  He was not, however, at the same level as Craft on the ball.

+2 HS
TCOB_6's picture

I second this. Pure defense I can't go against Craft here.

sb97's picture

Tough to say.  Conley had real shot blockers (Oden and Hunter) backing him up.  Craft has never had that luxury.  I wonder how each would have done in the other's situation.

+1 HS
gm3jones's picture

I say Craft strictly on the ball. I am not a really big bball fan (root for bucks, that is about it), but I have never seen anyone on the ball like him. I remembered watching Conley and Oden play (duh! went to NC that year) and Conley was sweet as hell, but he couldn't guard on the ball like AC. When you can stay on your man and be within two inches of them and not foul, that is something special. 

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.