FIBA names Iran’s Haddadi as top defender in Asia
Hamed Haddai of Iran’s National Team of Basketball is the best defender in the field in the Asian region according to the statistics and reports rolled out by FIBA.
Publish date : Sunday 31 December 2017 12:33
On the closing of the year of 2017, FIBA - the International Basketball Federation - issued a list of the five best defensive players who saw action at either of the two biggest continental events in 2017 - the FIBA Asia Cup in August and the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Asian Qualifiers in November.
These rankings are based on the defensive statistics (defensive rebounds, steals and blocks) compiled from both these tournaments, with the top three frontcourt players and top two backcourt players making the list.
At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Haddadi led the tournament with the highest average blocked shots per game and rebounds per game, the latter by a wide margin.
The 32-year-old center helped Iran win Asian Championship three times in 2007, 2009, 2013.
The 2.18m Iranian behemoth skipped the Asian Qualifiers, but he was an absolute beast for Team Melli at the Asia Cup. He routinely dominated the defensive glass against Iran's opponents and was among the elite shot-blockers right behind Lebanon's Norvel Pelle and Iraq's Ali Hameed. This is a guy who will turn 33 soon, and he's still finding ways to be a dynamic defensive presence.
Andray Blatche of the Philippines, Arsalan Kazemi of Iran, Mitch Creek of Australia, and Demario Mayfield of Iraq are the other members of the 5-best-defenders list of 2017 according to FIBA.
The FIBA site says that “what makes Kazemi so good on the defensive end of the court is his ability to swoop in for the rebounds and get those steals. His size, agility and skill-set also make him able to play either forward position and maybe even center against smaller teams. He was among the top five forwards in terms of steals at the Asia Cup and was the best overall rebounding forward in both competitions.”
Haddadi is the first Iranian to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA) when he debuted with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008.