Even though most of the fans come to the arenas for the points, the dunks and the offense in general, it’s actually team effort and hustle on the defensive end what gives a team the opportunity to thrive and succeed at the ultimate NBA level.
Flashy plays, poster dunks and three-pointers are exciting and of course they help, but you just can’t wait to win an NBA Championship is all you do is score and don’t prevent the opposing team from doing so.
Over the course of the years, we’ve seen some players stand out not (just) because their ability to put points on the scoreboard, but for their sky high skillset that allows them to lock down the best offensive and most talented players in the world. And today, we’ll let you know about the top 2 best All-Defensive teams in NBA history.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan
2nd NBA All-Defensive Team
PG Chris Paul
Chris Paul has become one of the household names in the Association since entering the league almost 12 years ago for his ability to score and make everybody around him play quite well thanks to his playmaking ability.
But more than that, he’s also a very underrated, pesky and annoying defender, making 9 All-Defensive apparitions in 12 seasons and averaging over 2.3 steals per game over the course of his career.
SG Kobe Bryant
If a guy tells you Kobe Bryant isn’t a good defender, you should just ignore him and get back to your stuff, because obviously, he doesn’t know squat about balling, as even if most of his haters fail to recognize it, Kobe was a standout defender.
The 5 time NBA Champion was way more than just a scorer and a selfish player as many people cataloged him, and the 2-time scoring champion also made 12 All-Defensive apparitions in 19 seasons in the Association, averaging 1.4 steals per game.
SF Kawhi Leonard
The only reason why Kawhi Leonard is making the 2nd team and not the 1st is because he’s only been around the league for 6 seasons, but he’s still managed to put his signature as one of the most talented defenders to ever lace them up.
Since winning the NBA Finals MVP, Kawhi has surged as one of the league’s ultimate superstars in both ends of the floor, achieving the Defensive Player of the Year distinction twice while also making 4 All-Defensive apparitions.
PF Ben Wallace
Ben Wallace was one of the main reasons why the Detroit Pistons were so dominant and successful on their way to their NBA Championship as the return of the Bad Boys, with both Wallaces locking down the paint as one of the most terrifying combos ever and being able to contain the strongest guys in the league, (like Shaq, for instance).
Reaching his prime in Michigan after being just an average player, Wallace made 6 All-Defensive team squad, and he won the Defensive Player of the Year award on 4 different occasions, tied most in NBA history, averaging a couple of blocks and over 1.3 steals per game through his career.
C Alonzo Mourning
Perhaps you’re quite young to remember Alonzo Mourning, but truth to be told, the former Charlotte Hornet, New Jersey Net and Miami Heat was just an incredibly dominant physical specimen that you wouldn’t get past unless being willing to pay the price for it
The Hall of Famer and one time NBA Champion made a couple of All-Defensive appearances while also winning the Defensive Player of the Year twice, averaging almost 3 blocks per game as one of the most intimidating guys in the paint you’ll ever see.
1st NBA All-Defensive Team
PG Gary Payton
Gary Payton wasn’t called The Glove out of anywhere, as he’s been known to have one of the softest, fastest and more skilled hands this beautiful game has ever seen, making him one of the most dominant two-way players in the history of basketball.
As a matter of fact, he actually achieved the Defensive Player of the Year distinction despite playing point guard and averaging over 16 points and 6 dimes per game, averaging almost 2 steals per game on his way to 9 All-Defensive squads.
SG Michael Jordan
Of course, the best player in the history of basketball can’t miss our list, one of the things that made Michael Jordan more impressive was the fact that he could have the same impact on both ends of the floor on any given night.
So, besides winning 6 NBA Championships, 10 scoring titles, and 5 MVPs, Michael Jordan won the 1987-88 Defensive Player of the Year award due to his career highs of 3.2 steals and 35 points per game, on a year where he also won the MVP distinction.
SF Scottie Pippen
Scottie Pippen has to be the best defensive small forward in the history of the game, and also one of the main reasons why the Chicago Bulls were so dominant back in the day, featuring yet another standout defender to play alongside the best scorer in history.
Pippen was one of the most versatile players you’ll find on a court, although the fact that he played alongside Jordan makes him kind of underrated for casual fans. Still, the 6 time NBA Champion made 10 All-Defensive appearances through his career, averaging 2 steals and almost a block per game.
PF Dennis Rodman
And when the Chicago Bulls couldn’t get any scarier, they decided to pursue Dennis Rodman, perhaps the best defensive power forward in the history of basketball, and a guy that was willing to put his body on the line to get every single board despite being up 20 points late in the 4th.
His hustle, his aggressiveness, his hunger and his determination made Dennis Rodman a guy you just couldn’t score against, winning two Defensive Player of the Year awards and making it to 6 All-Defensive squads despite not having the flashiest stat sheets.
C Hakeem Olajuwon
Hakeem Olajuwon is without any single kind of doubt the best Center in the history of the game, completely changing the way the position was played thanks to his standout feet movement and post offense versatility, leading the Houston Rockets to a couple of Larry O’Brien trophies.
But, besides the Dream Shake and his outstanding offense, what made Hakeem the best on his spot was his ability to play lockdown defense and swat every single shot you threw at him, earning him the right to win 2 Defensive Player of the Year awards as well as making 9 All-Defensive teams and recording 3,830 blocks through his career, an average of 3.1 per game, becoming the historic leader in that regard.