The lineup of Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, Jonas Valanciunas and Kyle Lowry produced a Defensive Rating of 92.5, a fairly remarkable number. Toronto's two-man combo featuring Amir and JV produced a 96.9 Defensive Rating and combos featuring any two from the starting five produced solid results as well. Amir Johnson and Kyle Lowry are terrific pick-and-roll defenders, particularly with their ability to hedge in unison. Valanciunas has potential to be one of the best defensive centers in the NBA thanks to his combination of timing, mobility, size and athleticism, while Rudy Gay, warts and all, is still a solid defender.
DeRozan is the weak link here, but even then, his flaws could be masked as that five-man lineup showed last year.
The Defence in Toronto has gone through a serious reconstruction since Dwayne Casey arrived in the T-Dot, producing uneven results in the process. The additions of Tyler Hansbrough, Austin Daye, DJ Augustin and Steve Novak don't seem to give much of a defensive boost but two of those four played on a very good defensive team in Indiana last season.
Add in the defensive potential of the Terrence Ross/Landry Fields wing combo, and it will be interesting to see how this all works out. Toronto has proven through their history that they can have very good-great defences, and with the defensive potential that the starting lineup exhibited last year, this season might just see the club return to 2011-12 performance levels at the very least.