Bill Russell is regarded as the best NBA defenders of all time. The List of the Top 10 NBA Defenders of All Time continues with Hakeem Olajuwon, Denis Rodman, Scottie Pippen, Dikembe Mutombo, Micheal Jordon, Kevin Garnett, Garry Payton, Davis Robinson, and Tim Duncan. Bill Russell is the greatest defensive player in NBA history who made sacrifices for their National teams and club teams. All these top 10 defenders have a big number of steals shining in the NBA playoff season. The game of the NBA has great defenders and this list should let you know the greatest of all time. These defenders led their teams to win championship titles and represented their National teams in the Olympic games.
Some of these players may not be the fastest and quickest players ever but they have made history. These defenders could think and defend their teams thus this makes them the great defenders of all time. Therefore here is a list of the Who is the greatest defensive NBA players of all time:
Who are the top 10 greatest defensive NBA players of all time?
- Bill Russell
- Hakeem Olajuwon
- Denis Rodman
- Scottie Pippen
- Dikembe Mutombo
- Micheal Jordon
- Kevin Garnett
- Garry Payton
- Davis Robinson
- Tim Duncan
1. Bill Russell – Best Defensive Leader
Russell played as a central player for Boston Celtics during his era. He was a center defensive player who won several titles with his National Team or Club team. Bill won the Hall of Fame award, 12 times All-Star, 5 times MVP, and 11 times NBA Championship. Having 133.64 defensive wins ahead Hakeem is ahead of Duncan who turns 12 ahead of defensive wins. With the Boston team, he won 11 titles in 13 seasons with 15 points, 22.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists. William Bill Russell is an African American retired basketball player who started his playing career in 1956 wearing number 6. In addition, he won five more in the playoffs during his career for 6 years. As an active player, he did not skip a single competition for the Celtics.
2. Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem Olajuwon is a Nigerian American retired basketball legendary best defensive player of all time. He is formerly known as Olajuwon, playing in the center position for a period from 1984 to 2002 in the NBA league. He started his playing career in 1984 playing for Houston Rockets. Hakeem also represented the United States in Olympic Games held in Atlanta in 1996 winning a gold medal. Looking at his career stats he had 26946 points, 13747 rebounds, and 3830 blocks. Olajuwon made a clear choice of playing as a defensive player of the year in 1993 and 1994.
Due to his skillful nature, he has been nicknamed the Dream-winning two-time NBA Champion. In 1984, he won two times NBA championships with his new skills of athleticism in the center position. He is the best defensive player in history with an average of 3.09 blocks in his career. He’s the NBA’s all-time leader in blocked shots and the two-time NBA champion
3. Denis Rodman
Denis Rodman is an NBA Defender of all time who played for several teams winning several titles as the best defensive player of all time. He started his playing career in 1986 playing as a power forward for Detroit Pistons. Denis won 6683 points, 11954 rebounds, and 1600 assists in his career stats, he also won the basketball hall of fame as a player during his era. Awarded 7 times the NBA All-Defensive first-team honors and 2 times Defensive player of the year. He also played for Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks.
The only player in history to win 7 times conservative rebound titles, kept as a legacy of dirty work player in the history of the NBA. His contributions to his team are amazing, especially in the late ’80s and mid-90s playing for Chicago Bulls. Denis had 7.3 points, 13.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists in his career per game played.
4. Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen played as a small forward for Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers, and Hoston Rockets. He was well known as Robin to Micheal Jordon playing with legendary players as teammates. Pippen was a talented runner who played with Micheal Jordon the best legendary player. An active key player for the Chicago Bulls during his era playing as the best defensive player of all time. Completed his career with 10 All-Defensive team selections, and won a hall of fame award as a player, 7 All-Star NBA, and 6 NBA Champions. Having 16.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game played. Due to his achievements and awards, he ranked top 10 best defensive players in NBA history.
5. Dikembe Mutombo
Dikembe Mutombo played center for the Democratic Republic of Congo winning the best shot-blocker in history. In 1991, he won the 4th overall pick as the NBA Defender. This defensive player played for several teams such as Denver Nuggets, Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, New York Knicks, and Hoston Rockets. His accolades are the Hall of Fame, 8 All-Star NBA, 6 All-Defensive Team, and 4 Defensive Player of the year. Do you know that this player won two times the league in rebounds? He had 9.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game played. Dikembe Mutombo was one of the roughest figures in the game, blocking shots with his outstretched extended arms.
6. Michael Jordon
Micheal Jordon is one of the greatest basketball players of all time who played as a shooting guard for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. He won several awards and accolades such as winning 6 NBA Championships, 5 MVP awards, 14 NBA All-Star Game Appearances, and 3 All-Star Games. Micheal has inspired so many NBA players due to his outstanding performances and iconic name made during his era. In 1996, he was named the 50 greatest players in NBA history. He also represented the United States in the Olympic games and won two gold medals. Since he is a man of history, Jordon was drafted 3rd overall in 1984 games by the Bulls team. and won nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team. He completed his profession with 9 All-Defensive Team selections in 1998 with Chicago Bulls.
7. Kevin Garnett
Kevin Garnett played as a power forward for Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, and Brooklyn Nets. In 2008, he won the Defensive player of the year award, basketball hall of fame, 15x All-Star, 12x All-Defensive Team, MVP, and NBA Champion. Kevin was a talented player with the nickname “The Big Ticket”. As a player, he had 17.8 points, 10 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game played. He was 5th overall NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves and represented the United States Olympic games in Sydney winning a gold medal in 2000. Kevin also won FIBA Americas Championship held in 1999 winning a gold medal. He also led the Timberwolves to the Western Conference Finals and won the NBA MVP Award. Spent 12 seasons in Timberwolves after he joined Boston Celtics.
8. Gary Payton
Gary Payton is a professional former American basketball player who played as a point guard in the NBA league. During his era, he was named NBA All-Defensive First Team nine times holding the NBA record of all time. In 2006, he played for Miami Hears winning the NBA Champion title. He has been nicknamed the Glove of NBA history. Was ranked 1st defender in NBA history in 1996. In complement to his defensive distinctions, Payton was a head on the court and a dependable team player. He is one doubt the best top point guard in NBA history during his era, ranking 8th as the best defensive player in NBA history. During the late 1990s and 2000s, Garry was a top playmaker and was seen as one of the best ringers with the Miami Heat. His points per game were 16.3, 3.9 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game.
9. Davis Robinson
David Robison was a center professional NBA player who played for San Antonio Spurs from 1989. As a player, he won the Basketball Hall of Fame and the FIBA Hall of fame honored the league’s all-time player in the 1996 season. Some of his accolades are Hall of Fame, 10x All-Star, 8x All-Defensive Team, Defensive Player of the Year award, MVP, and 2x NBA Champion. In the 1991 season, David led the league with the most blocks ever during that season. Another record was in 2003 when he finished his career in style with two rings. What an incredible player he was in history. He is also a super icon dribble of all time averaging 21.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.5 assists.
10. Tim Duncan
Time Duncan ranks 10th on our list of the top 10 best defensive players in NBA history. He is the greatest power forward of all time in NBA history who spent 19 years of his playing career in the San Antonio Spurs. Looking at his career accolades he won the Hall of Fame, 15x All-Star, 15x All-Defensive Team, 2x MVP, and 5x NBA Champion. Many people don’t remember the great works of Duncan but he averaged more than two blocks per game during his career. He had 19 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per game played.
As a player, he represented the United States in the Olympic games winning a bronze medal for his national team. He also won two gold medals in FIBA Americas Championship with career statistics of 26496 points, 15091 rebounds, and 4225 assists. Duncan was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2020 and also won 10× All-NBA First Team.
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