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Tag:Bill Russell
Posted on: March 18, 2009 11:48 pm
 

NBA's Greatest Defenders in History

Here is my list of the Top 10 Greatest Defenders in NBA History:

 1) 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.

2) 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.

3) Ben Wallace - There has never been a better reason to "Fear the Fro" when Big B was anchoring the great Pistons defense. He made everyone fear coming into the lane and trying to score. He was small in height (6'7"-6'9" not counting the fro), but made up for it with his athleticism and leaping ability. He is probably the 2nd most athletic center in history behind the Dream. He made it to 6 All-NBA Defensive Teams, and won 4 DPOYs (should have been 5, he was robbed by Ron Artest), tied for the most in NBA history. His great defense allowed the Pistons to make 5 straight ECFs, 2 straight NBA Finals, and winning the NBA title in 2004. His defense presence made the Pistons D the best in the league (one of the best all time defense). He is the only player in NBA history to record 1,000 rebounds, 100 blocks, and 100 steals in 4 consecutive seasons. He is also the only player to be able to slow down the great Shaquille O'Neal on a regular basis. If you need proof: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWo-VA1mf6Y

4) 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.

5) Tim Duncan - Timmy D is truly one of the best post players we've ever seen. His inside presence in the post is not only seen on offense, but on defense as well. He has anchored 4 championship teams now with the Spurs and his post defense is every much a part of it as anything. He doesn't have to put up the flashy defensive stats that many other good defenders do, but if you ever have seen the great defense the Spurs play you will see that it all comes down to Timmy's D. Without him down low, their defense wouldn't be special at all. He has made 11 All-Defensive Teams. The Big Fundamental is a perfect nickname for him because he is better at the fundamentals of basketball than anyone.

6) 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.

7) Kevin Garnett - KG is the perfect player you'd want to anchor your defense. This wasn't as evident when he was on the Timberwolves (although he was great with them as well), but became even more noticeable when he joined the Boston Celtics last year. Their defense went from an average (middle of the league) defense to the NBA's best defense in 2007-2008. He is such an athletic player that he can be everywhere in the paint playing help defense as well as stopping the toughest post threat for his opponents. His leadership is the key to his game because he is able to motivate and lead his teammates to play much better defense than they would without him. He has so much passion and love for this game, and uses that to motivate himself and his team on defense (as well as offense). He has made 5 All-NBA-Defensive Teams as well as winning his first and only DPOY last season.

8) Kareem Abul-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.

9) David Robinson - The Admiral was truly a force to be reckoned with on defense. He was a dominating presence in the post making it very difficult for opposing teams to scoring in the paint. He was great at all aspects of defense: rebounding, blocking, stealing, post defense, etc. You name it, Robinson could do it all. His great defensive efforts won him 8 All-NBA-Defensive Teams, a DPOY, and 2 NBA championships. He wasn't flashy or super athletic, but he commanded respect in the post, and lead his team on defense.

10) Nate Thurmond - The famous "Wilt Stopper" was known throughout history as a great defender. Anyone that could stop the dominating force known as Wilt Chamberlain had to be great. He was tall and used his height advantage over many smaller players to become a great rebounder and defender. Again, most of his career he played in the times before blocks and steals so who knows how many of those he had, but later in his career they counted the stats and he averaged 2.1 bpg in his final 6 seasons. He never won championships or tons of awards (always being left as the odd guy out behind Russell and Wilt), but he was still a great defender that was able to do toe-to-toe with two of the greatest big men the NBA has ever seen.

Honorable Mention: Dikembe Mutombo, Alonzo Mourning, and Sidney Moncreif

Feel free to comment and even make your own list if you wish.

 

Posted on: August 6, 2008 2:47 pm
 

All Time NBA Defensive Teams: 3rd Team

I decided that it would interested to gather up the greatest defenders in history and make teams of them like they do each year for the best players in the NBA. So I will find the greatest defenders at put them at their respective positions. Forgive me though, if I don't put them at their primary position, but there is too many great defenders that played center, and I couldn't fit them all onto 3 teams (I'm only going to a 1st team, 2nd team, and 3rd team). So you will some a PF instead of center. Also, players that played multiple positions will be put at whatever position I feel like. If you don't like it, than too bad.


3rd All Time NBA Defensive Team:


PG- Walt Frazier

7 All NBA Defensive 1st team selections

Walt "Clyde" Frazier was one of the greatest PG defenders ever. His defense was key in both the Knicks titles in '70 and '73. He was one of the first guys to ever master the art of stealing the ball. He played loose making it look like he was letting his guard down, but used his quick hands to steal the ball. He deserves the spot here as the 3rd best defending PG of all time and some might argue him higher.


SG- John Havlicek


5 All NBA Defensive 1st team selections and 3 All NBA Defensive 2nd team selections

Hondo was one the biggest parts of the Celtics championships, and like his teammate Bill Russell, it was his defense that made them so good. He is possibly one of the most underrated players in history because everyone remembers only Russell during those championships with the Celtics. He came off the bench as the 6th man because even though he was one of their better players, he would rather play a role that would help their team win better because of how great a team player he was. Hondo was a defensive genius and deserves this spot.


SF- Bobby Jones

8 All NBA Defensive 1st team selections and 1 All NBA Defensive 2nd team selection

Jones is probably the most underrated defender of all time. Not many people know a whole lot about him (I'll be honest, I didn't know much either until I researched him), but that doesn't mean he wasn't a great defender. This was mainly due to how quite and calm his personality was. He was a very respectable player and never believed in using any dirty tactics such throwing elbows, hip checks, etc. He was just a hard working team player that always hustled and did his best. Jones is probably the least known all time great defender, but he was one of the best.


PF- Ben Wallace


4 Defensive Player of the Years 5 All NBA Defensive 1st team selections and 1 All NBA Defensive 2nd team selection

Big Ben was giving the title "Beast of the East" for a reason. He was an absolute monster on defense. He was only standing at 6'7"-6'9", but he could defend the best guys in the league. Not only was he a monster in the paint, but he had the versatility to defend the guards. He was known after going on the fast break to stay there and press the ball handler. He got lots of steals doing this and was able to take it in for the slam. He was the anchor the Pistons' defense especially in the 2004 NBA Championship. He is tied with Dikembe Mutombo for winning the most DPOYs in history with 4. If anyone doubts that Big Ben couldn't hang with the best them see this:

www.youtube.com/watch


C- David Robinson

1 Defensive Player of the Year 4 All NBA Defensive 1st team selections and 4 All NBA Defensive 2nd team selections

The Admiral was one of the great all time defensive centers. He might get overlooked some because there was so many great defensive centers. Along with Tim Duncan, they formed the "Twin Towers" that helped the Spurs win 2 titles in 1999 and 2003. With him and Timmy down low, most teams wouldn't be able to score very much in the paint or out rebound them. This spot could go to both Tim Duncan or Robinson, but in the end I picked Robinson due to the fact that he was important to their defense and Timmy was more important to the offense.


Keep track of the teams:

1st team:


PG- Gary Payton
SG- Michael Jordan
SF- Dennis Rodman
PF- Bill Russell
C- Hakeem Olajuwon

2nd Team:

PG- Mo Cheeks
SG- Sidney Moncrief
SF- Scottie Pippen
PF- Alonzo Mourning
C- Dikembe Mutombo

3rd Team:


PG- Walt Frazier
SG- John Havlicek
SF- Bobby Jones
PF- Ben Wallace
C- David Robinson


There you have it people now you see all 3 of my teams; now let's see what you think.
Posted on: August 4, 2008 2:07 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2008 2:08 pm
 

All Time NBA Defensive Teams: 2nd Team

I decided that it would interested to gather up the greatest defenders in history and make teams of them like they do each year for the best players in the NBA. So I will find the greatest defenders at put them at their respective positions. Forgive me though, if I don't put them at their primary position, but there is too many great defenders that played center, and I couldn't fit them all onto 3 teams (I'm only going to a 1st team, 2nd team, and 3rd team). So you will some a PF instead of center. Also, players that played multiple positions will be put at whatever position I feel like. If you don't like it, than too bad.

2nd All Time NBA Defensive Team:


PG- Maurice Cheeks

4 All NBA Defensive 1st team selections and 1 All NBA 2nd team selection

Mo was one of the greatest PG defenders and is only rivaled by Gary Payton IMO. He wasn't big and strong, but he was very speedy and quick. He had quick hands and knew how to stay in front of his man and keep him from doing damage. He was a big part of the 76ers success in his career, most notably the 1983 NBA Championship he won with teammates Moses Malone and Julius Erving. He isn't given as much credit because he was overshadowed by the two stars Malone and Dr. J, but he has contributed just as much as they did. He never put up amazing numbers outside of steals, but he was one amazing and underrated player.


SG- Sidney Moncrief

2 Defensive Player of the Years 4 All NBA Defensive 1st team selections and 1 All NBA 2nd team selection

He won the very first (and second) Defensive Player of the Year award. Moncrief was a defensive specialist that was underrated on the offensive end. He was overshadowed by the dominating Lakers and Celtics during the 80s, but his Bucks had the 3rd best winning percentage behind those 2 teams over the decade and he definitely was a huge part of that. He was possibly the best on ball defender in history. Michael was quoted saying about him: "When you play against Moncrief, you're in for a night of all-around basketball. He'll hound you everywhere you go, both ends of the court. You just expect it." If a player like MJ respects your defensive skills that much, you know you were one of the best.


SF- Scottie Pippen

8 All NBA Defensive 1st team selections and 2 All NBA Defensive 2nd team selections

Pippen, along with his Bulls teammates MJ and Rodman, was a defensive beast. Everyone knows how great the Bulls offense was, but it was their great defense that won them their championships. Pippen was known as one of the best defenders in his era, and he played in one of the best (if not the best) eras in basketball. He was selected to 10 total All NBA Defensive Teams which is 1 shy of the record. He could play great man defense, rebound, and had some quick hands as well.


PF- Alonzo Mourning

2 Defensive Player of the Years and 2 All NBA Defensive 1st team selections

Zo was a beast of a defender, but didn't put up great numbers over his entire career due to the fact that he had some bad injuries. Still, when he was healthy in his prime he was a monster on the boards and in the post on defense and played against some of the game's greatest centers like Shaq, Hakeem, The Admiral, Ewing, etc. He was very athletic and versatile for a big guy as well, and he used it to his advantage when defending his opponent. Zo would make it very difficult for anyone to score in the paint and get rebounds.


C- Dikembe Mutombo


4 Defensive Player of the Years 3 All NBA Defensive 1st team selections and 3 All NBA Defensive 2nd team selections

Mutombo was one of the greatest defenders in his prime. He won 4 DPOYs which tied with Ben Wallace for the record. He could go toe to toe with the best centers as well and was an amazing shot blocker and rebounder. He is 2nd on all-time in blocks with 3,256 over his career. His famous finger wag made him popular with fans but not with the officials. He was a monster and 7'2" 260 lbs that would lock down the paint and make it nearly impossible to score at times.



Just to keep track of all the teams:

1st team:

PG- Gary Payton
SG- Michael Jordan
SF- Dennis Rodman
PF- Bill Russell
C- Hakeem Olajuwon

2nd Team:

PG- Mo Cheeks
SG- Sidney Moncrief
SF- Scottie Pippen
PF- Alonzo Mourning
C- Dikembe Mutombo

Coming up in a few days: 3rd All NBA Defensive Team
Posted on: August 2, 2008 2:11 pm
Edited on: August 4, 2008 2:09 pm
 

All Time NBA Defensive Teams: 1st Team

I decided that it would interested to gather up the greatest defenders in history and make teams of them like they do each year for the best players in the NBA. So I will find the greatest defenders at put them at their respective positions. Forgive me though, if I don't put them at their primary position, but there is too many great defenders that played center, and I couldn't fit them all onto 3 teams (I'm only going to a 1st team, 2nd team, and 3rd team). So you will some a PF instead of center. Also, players that played multiple positions will be put at whatever position I feel like. If you don't like it, than too bad.

1st All Time NBA Defensive Team:


PG- Gary Payton

1 Defensive Player of the Year and 9 time All NBA Defensive 1st team selections

"The Glove" was the greatest defensive PG of all time. He could lock down the best PGs when he played them. He had to guard some of the best including Isiah Thomas, Jason Kidd, Kevin Johnson, and even Michael Jordan in his time. He was always knows for being a tenacious, in your face defender and used his trash talking arrogant personality to get into the heads of his opponents. He is one of only 4 guards to ever win the DPOY in its entire history.

SG- Michael Jordan


1 Defensive Player of the Year and 9 time All NBA Defensive 1st team selections

Most know that MJ is one of the greatest scorers, if not the greatest, in history. He ranks up there in almost all offensive categories on the all time lists, but what truly made him the greatest player ever was that he could also play defense. He was just as good of a defender as he was on offensive player. Not many knew this because he didn't put up the numbers to prove it, but in the 1987-1988 season he put up great defensive numbers and won the Defensive Player of the Year award. He is 3rd all time in steals per game average with 2.35 spg and 2nd all time in total steals with 2,514. He is not just one of the best guard defenders ever, but one of the greatest defenders in NBA history.

SF- Dennis Rodman

2 Defensive Player of the Years and 7 time All NBA Defensive 1st team selections and 1 All NBA Defensive 2nd team selection

Dennis Rodman was a monster defensive player. He started at the Pistons, but continued his defensive greatness on the Bulls as well adn was huge part in both the Pistons titles in 89 and 90, as well as the 3 Bulls titles he was part of in 96, 97, and 98. He was only 6'8" 210 lbs, but he was a monster on the boards. He is 11th all time in rebounds per game with 13.1 rpg, and at the small forward spot when he was on the Pistons. He will probably be more known for how crazy he was in his personal life, but when he was on the court he was a defensive beast and a great rebounder.

PF- Bill Russell

1 All NBA Defensive 1st team selection

Don't let the fact that he only was selected to 1 All NBA Defensive team and no DPOYs fool you. They didn't start recording all defensive teams until the 1968-1969 season and he was on of the 1st to be selected. The Defensive Player of the Year award didn't start being handed out until the 1982-1983 season. Trust me, if they would have been keeping track of that stuff in his day, he would have more DPOYs and All defensive teams than anyone. His defense is what anchored the Celtics to their 11 championships in his days. They didn't record blocks back then either, but some have studied old tapes of his games and say he would have averaged around 7 blocks. Also, they said at least 5 out of the 7 times he would block the ball his teams would get the ball instead of it going right back to the opponent. He is seen by most as the greatest defensive player of all time and rightly so with how well he played.

C- Hakeem Olajuwon

2 Defensive Player of the Years and 5 All NBA Defensive 1st Teams and 4 All NBA Defensive 2nd teams

Hakeem "The Dream" Olajuwon was an unbelievably versatile defender. Not only could he lock down the paint, but he could guard players on the perimeter and use his quick hands to grab lots of steals. His defense was a huge factor in winning the Rockets 2 back-to-back NBA championships in the 1993-1994 and 1994-1995 season. Hakeem is the all time leader in total blocks with 3,830, 7th all time total steals with 2,162, and 11th all time total rebounds with 13,748. He also one of only 4 players in NBA to ever record a quadruple double, which is just more proof of how versatile a player he was. Other than Michael Jordan, he is probably the best defender in history that was great on offense as well. He is one of the greatest defenders of all time, and possible the most versatile defender of all time.


Coming up in a few days: 2nd All Time Defensive Team.
Posted on: January 26, 2008 7:12 pm
 

Wilt Chamberlain or Shaquille O'Neal?

Who was a better player? Everyone sees these two guys as the 2 most dominate big men in history. While most of you might be quick to say Wilt, I think you should take a closer look and see why a case can be made for The Big Diesel as well.

If you look at the numbers, it's overwhelmingly in Wilt's favor:

Wilt Chamberlain: 30.1 ppg  22.9 rpg  54% FG 1,045 GP

Shaquille O'Neal: 25.6 ppg  11.5 rpg  58% FG 1,013 GP

But as most NBA fans should know (or at least any that know their history) in Wilt's time there was no where near the competition that Shaq has had to face. Wilt's toughest competition was Bill Russell, one of the greatest if not the greatest defender of all time, but other than Russell the rest of the competition was either a foot shorter or not even half as good.

Shaq has gone up against some of the best big men and defenders the NBA has ever seen: Hakeem Olajuwon, Dikembe Mutombo, Patrick Ewing, Ben Wallace () etc. He has a lot more tougher competition than Wilt ever did. Plus, the game has changed a lot as well. Shaq dominated in a lot tougher time then Wilt. Therefore, I think Shaq was a better player. He was still able to destroy his competition even though they were a lot tougher than Wilt.

No, Shaq wasn't able to get 100 points or 50 rebounds in a game, but he was still able to get 40+ points in 47 regular season games in his career. Of course no where near Wilt's 271, but I want to keep emphasizing how little competition he had in his time.

If Shaq and Wilt had been in the same time period as each other, Shaq would have put up better numbers. Shaq has had to face a lot more tough defenders and great defenders than Wilt, so he would be able to have a lot more success IMO.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com