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5 best defensive players in NBA history

Defensemen in the NBA are judged by several parameters, making it difficult to single out one player as the best overall player in league history. However, the Defender of the Year title often falls to the center wing mainly because of the rim protection they provide.

However, defensive masters at other positions are recognized by being selected to the NBA All-Defensive Team. Even though Rudy Gobert, who has been named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year for the third time in four years, the Utah Jazz big man has a long way to go before he ranks among the league’s top defenders.

Scoring is important because it will help you win. But a great defense is what separates the winners from the champions. Most championships in NBA history were won by a team that could stop and convert on offense.

LeBron James’ block chase in the 2016 NBA Finals is a perfect example of how a great defense can guarantee a championship. The French team advanced to the 2021 men’s Olympic basketball finals thanks to NBA star Nicolas Bottom’s arrest that kept Slovenia out.

Players like Tim Duncan, Gary Payton and Dwight Howard deserve praise for their defensive prowess. Despite their good looks, they are at the back of this list.

Still, let’s look at five of the best defensive players in NBA history.

#5 Scotty Pippen

Scotty Pippen
Scotty Pippen

Too bad we didn’t see Scottie Pippen win the NBA Defensive Player of the Year at least once in his career. However, he made ten All-NBA All-Defensive Teams, eight of which were first-team selections.

Pippen is one of the most versatile defenders in NBA history. His 6’8 frame and athleticism give him an edge on defense. He is one of the few players who can guard him at any position.

Even when most defenders failed to attack, Pepin was effective. He was the perfect Robin Bateman could ask for.

#4 Dennis Rodman

Dennis Rodman
Dennis Rodman

Defense is largely reduced to rushing and Dennis “Worm” Rodman is the epitome of that in NBA history. He could have easily been the league’s best defender in history, but his greatness cost him.

Rodman led the league in rebounds for seven consecutive seasons from 1992-1998. He previously won the NBA Defender of the Year award in 1990 and 1991.


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