This may sound a little crazy, but it’s important to be intense when playing defense. The best defensive basketball players separate themselves from the rest of their team through their determination in stopping their opponent and their toughness while doing it. All the best defensive players, and teams for the matter, are extremely tough and maybe even nasty as times.
Some players don’t have this natural toughness and it has to be developed. If you ever find yourself having difficulty finding motivation to stop your defender or go up drop for a rebound or dive on the floor to steal the ball, use your imagination to get pumped up. Imagine your defender just beat up your girlfriend or Mom. Maybe they just stole your computer or phone. Heck maybe they stole your favorite teddy bear.
This is a personal thing, so imagine whatever will get you pumped up to harass them, make their life miserable on defense and the only way to get back at them for that terrible thing they did to you is to make a stop on offense, rip down a rough rebound or make a tough dive on the floor for a loose ball. Use your imagination to develop a tenacity and hopefully one day it will come naturally.
If you play as tough as Dennis Rodman, you'll be fine: