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Best Defensive Players in NBA History


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Poll results - Best defender of all-time
Hakeem Olajuwon 7 21.21%
Bill Russell 2 6.06%
Dennis Rodman 8 24.24%
Michael Jordan 3 9.09%
Scottie Pippen 8 24.24%
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 0 0%
Ben Wallace 2 6.06%
Dikembe Mutombo 3 9.09%
Voters: 33. Sorry, you cannot vote on this poll (Boxden members only) [Click here to become a member]

 Best Defensive Players in NBA History
Arrow topic by illmatic45ACP - 05-27-2011, 11:31 PM


Who gets your vote for the "Best Defender of All-Time"?




Hakeem Olajuwon
"The Dream" was so good on offense that it made you forget how great his defense was. He was such a good offensive player that people tend to forget the best part of his game was his defense. He was the most athletic center in NBA history and used this too his advantage; most notably being one of only 4 players to record a quadruple-double. He is the 7th all time leader in steals, the highest of any center in history. His defense contributed to two titles for the Rockets. He won the DPOY twice, made 5 NBA All Defensive First teams, and is the only player in history to make the Top 10 in blocks, steals, rebounds, and scoring.



Bill Russell
This only needs one explanation: 11 championship rings. It was his defense that anchored every last one of those 11 titles he won with the Boston Celtics. They didn't keep track of blocks, steals, or even All NBA Defensive teams in his days, until the end of his career where he was on the very first NBA All Defensive First Team in history. He is the proof that defense is what wins championships, and he will always be remembered for that. He will go down as the greatest defender in history.



Dennis Rodman
The dude may have been crazy, possibly even needing to be institutionalized, off the court, but on the court he was one of the greatest defenders this league has ever seen. He started out on the great defensive Detroit Pistons "Bad Boys." He won both is DPOYs with them and helped them achieve two NBA titles with his great defense. He also won 3 titles with Chicago Bulls (along side MJ) playing a huge part in their strong defense. He became known over the entire league as a great defense player, and some even said he "could shut down any opposing player, from point guard to center." He wasn't very tall, but made up for that with athleticism, strength, and leaping ability. For his size, he is one of the best rebounders in history. He was able to average over 18 rpg in back to back season (91-92 to 92-93) as well as averaging over 17 rpg the following year. He finished with 13.1 rpg over his entire career which puts him in the Top 10 all time rebounders per average. He may have been a psycho, but he was a great NBA defensive psycho.



Michael Jordan
MJ was not just one of the great scorers of all time; his defense is what made him into the greatest player of all time. We all see the highlights on ESPN of his great dunks, his flashy layups, his great jump shooting, etc., but what you never see is his great defense. For awhile, his haters tried to say he was only a scorer and not a good defender. What does his Airness do in response? Goes and wins the 1988 DPOY that's what. He has made 9 NBA All-Defensive Teams over his career. If you know you're history, the Bulls great defense was their main contribution to their 6 titles and you know MJ was their leader on D as well as on offense. Jordan is also second to only John Stockton on the All-time Steals list with 2,514 career steals.



Scottie Pippen
Pip could shutdown anyone, 1-4. Pippen was always swarming everywhere in that doberman defense, and if he wasn't ripping you, he was swatting your shot, or causing you to alter yours. Yes, some guys might have been better for a season, or so, but Pippen did it on the defensive end for a very, very long time.



Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Like Jordan, he is known for being one of the greatest scorers in history, but also like Mike his defense was just as important in helping his team succeed. His made his presence felt in the post on defense making it very hard for teams to get points at the rim. He knew how to use his size to his advantage by using his height and long arms to keep a hand in players’ faces and swat their shot if they dared going up against him. His defense was more noticeable when he was younger (with the Milwaukee Bucks), but he still maintained his great D for his entire career helping to be the anchor of 6 NBA titles. He made 11 NBA All-Defensive First Teams over his career.



Ben Wallace
Some may question this pick for the top 10 of all-time due to the fact that Big Ben doesn’t make any NBA all-time leaders list in blocks, steals, or rebounds. In fact the only notable list he makes in the defensive area is the top 25 in blocks per game at just over 2 for the course of his career. But anyone who has followed his career realizes that there is not one player in NBA history that has dominated the defensive end in a period of 5 years as Ben Wallace did from 2001-2006. In that stretch he won the NBA Defensive Player of the year award 4 times (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006). During that stretch he also was either the leader or second in the league in both blocked shots and rebounds.



Dikembe Mutombo
If there was one prototype for a shot blocking machine, it would certainly look a lot like Dikembe Mutombo. He was built to block shots. His length, leaping ability, timing, and his wagging finger in the face of opponents after he shuts them down are what I always think about when people talk best shot blockers of all-time. Mutombo is second all-time on the total blocks list with 3,289, and has won the defensive player of the year award a record 4 times (tied with Ben Wallace). Mutombo led the league 5 times in total blocks, 4 times in total rebounds, and 2 times in defensive boards.


29 comments for "Best Defensive Players in NBA History"


 05-27-2011, 11:36 PMaway - #2
DurtySoufReppin 70 heat pts70

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hard to argue with 11 championships

but Ima have to go with Hakeem
 05-27-2011, 11:38 PMaway - #3
Shawn James 

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The dream.
 05-27-2011, 11:40 PMaway - #4
TheG1ftedOne 4 heat pts

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No Dwight howard as a choice?
 05-27-2011, 11:44 PMaway - #5
mcruz 2 heat pts

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Originally Posted by TheG1ftedOne
No Dwight howard as a choice?
It's too early, but he will probably/most likely be considered the goat on the defensive end for a big man
 05-27-2011, 11:45 PMaway - #6
illmatic45ACP 7 heat pts

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Gary Payton
In fact he was even nicknamed ‘The Glove’ due to his ability to cover and wrap up opposing point guards like a baseball in a glove. A lot of guards will anticipate poor passes and fill the passing lanes for steals. Gary not only did that with great success, but where he differed from many guards was in his ability as an on-the-ball defender. He literally could shut down players at either the 1 or 2 position on any given night. Gary is third all-time on the NBA’s steals list with 2,445 career steals. Payton shares the record with Michael Jordan as the player with the most selections to the NBA’s all-defensive first team, at 9. Probably the most telling factor however for his dominance as a defender, Gary Payton is the only point guard in NBA history that has ever received the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award.



John Stockton
Just on one factor alone you can put Stockton virtually anywhere on this list. Steals. The guy was the master of thievery. He has the NBA All-time record for steals at a mind-numbing 3,265 total steals over the course of his career. That is more than 700 more steals than MJ had in second place on that list. I wish there were more accurate numbers on charges taken by a guard as well. Because if there were, Stockton surely would be a top that list as well.



Michael Cooper
His fantastic perimeter defense was a very important part of five NBA Championship teams in L.A. He won Defensive Player of the Year for his efforts in the 1986-87 season and was named to eight All-Defense teams.



Mark Eaton
Mark Eaton is arguably the greatest shot blocker in NBA history. His career average of 3.5 blocks a game ranks first of all time. He's also fourth in NBA history in total blocks and fifth in block percentage. He led the league in blocks per game four times (four of the top 15 seasons for blocks of all time). His 5.6 a game during the 1984-85 season has never been equaled. He was the Defensive Player of the Year twice and was named to five All-Defense teams. At 7'4", Eaton was one of the most intimidating players to ever occupy the paint for an NBA team.
 05-27-2011, 11:48 PMaway - #7
DurtySoufReppin 70 heat pts70

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Joe Dumars deserves a mention
 05-27-2011, 11:51 PMonline - #8
Repressed 

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I voted Pippen but you're wrong for leaving out Payton.
 05-27-2011, 11:51 PMonline - #9
#JewLife 78 heat pts78

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there will be no warriors on this list.
 05-27-2011, 11:55 PMaway - #10
billieskeet 5 heat pts

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Mark Eaton is very underrated, I mean he used to send ni##as #### back like they had bad credit. Only person I don't think belongs on this list is Wallace. Yeah he was good for that stretch, but he didn't do it for nearly as long as anyone on that list.
 05-27-2011, 11:56 PMaway - #11
mcruz 2 heat pts

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Should Bruce Bowan be considered on the list?
 05-27-2011, 11:59 PMaway - #12
r.burgundy 13 heat pts13

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nate mcmillan,derek harper,mookie blaylock?
 05-28-2011, 12:01 AMonline - #13
#JewLife 78 heat pts78

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add Tim Duncan and KG when they retire
 05-28-2011, 12:05 AMaway - #14
illmatic45ACP 7 heat pts

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Joe Dumars
It remains one of the enduring images of NBA lore – Joe Dumars guarding a determined young Michael Jordan in the 1990 Eastern Conference playoffs. Dumars of the “Bad Boy” Detroit Pistons, the league’s two-time defending champs, looked like a gaucho corralling the ultimate toro, his feet moving furiously (maybe the best defensive slide in the history of the game), one forearm firmly barred into Jordan to keep contact, the other bent arm thrust into the air, giving Dumars his only hope of keeping his balance while trying to ride the Jordan whirlwind. Jerry West watched the performance and remarked privately that most people considered Isiah Thomas the Pistons’ superstar, but West pointed out that it was Dumars who was the supreme talent.



Alonzo Mourning
Alonzo Mourning led the league in blocks per game twice, and in his career had just one full season in which he averaged less than two blocks a game (his last year in the league).
His career average of 2.8 blocks per game ranks sixth of all time. He's also sixth of all time in career block percentage. He won the Defensive Player of the Year Award in back-to-back seasons in 1999 and 2000.



Tim Duncan
Tim Duncan is the ultimate model of consistency. He averaged at least two blocks and 10.6 rebounds per game in each of his first 10 years in the league. He's been named to 13 All-Defense teams and his skills on that end of the floor have helped him win four NBA Championships. He's 21st of all time in career rebounds and ninth of all time in career blocks.



David Robinson
David Robinson averaged at least 3.2 blocks and 1.4 steals per game in each of his first seven seasons in the NBA. He won the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1992 and made eight All-Defense teams. He's fifth of all time in career blocks and fourth in career blocks per game.



Wilt Chamberlain

They didn't keep track of blocks or steals during Chamberlain's career, but it's well known that his dominance was didn't just apply to offense. One defensive stat that they did keep track of was rebounds, and Chamberlain led the league in that category for 11 seasons. He averaged 22.9 boards a game for his career. He certainly wouldn't be as dominant in today's NBA, but he'd make things difficult for the players who like to attack the rim.
 05-28-2011, 12:05 AMaway - #15
@RG3 45 heat pts45

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no lebron? but he better than MJ..
 05-28-2011, 12:09 AMaway - #16
A.G 27 heat pts27

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Tim Duncan & Sidney Moncrief deserve a mention.

Moncrief has a legit case for GOAT perimeter defender.

From who I've seen thoughm

Top 3 is Rodman, Hakeem & Pippen.

Large dropoff from there.
 05-28-2011, 01:11 AMaway - #17
head first 

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Prime Ben Wallace was no effin joke.
 05-28-2011, 02:33 AMaway - #18
hooligun 11 heat pts11

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ron artest in his prime was solid
 05-28-2011, 02:39 AMaway - #19
modalee 4 heat pts

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Top 3 is

Pippen
Hakeem
Rodman
 05-28-2011, 09:34 AMaway - #20
dre03 

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I got my man Dream #1... From there I say its a gap between him and #2... Nothing Dream couldn't do defensively... Absolutely no defensive weaknesses...
 

 



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