CBN’s Top 10 Best Defensive Players in NBA History

Strong defense is an integral component of team success: Here’s who did it best

Without a question, strong defensive players carry their teams to championship wins - and these talented blockers never fail to inspire us with their specific set of skills. That’s why this week is all about the top defensive players in league history. Beginning with #10 and working our way up to the all-time greatest of the greats, here are the top 10 best defenders in the history of the NBA:

Mark Price, 10th best defender all-time

10. Alonzo Mourning

Perhaps Mourning’s most memorable years in the NBA spanned 1997-2000 when he led the Miami Heat to four-straight Atlantic Division Titles. In his eight seasons, this 7x All-Star beast was selected to the All-Rookie First Team in addition to 2 All-NBA and All-Defensive selections. In both 1999 and 2000, Mourning won the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year Award.

David Robinson, 9th Best Defender of All-Time

9. David Robinson

Famously known as “The Admiral”, 10x All-Star and 2x NBA champ Robinson led the NBA in blocks during the 1991-92 season, making 8 NBA All-Defensive Teams and concluding his career with a bang in 2003 by winning his second ring.

Gary Payton, 8th Best Defender of All-Time

8. Gary Payton

During the 1990’s and 2000’s, Gary “The Glove” Payton guarded some of the greatest players with his strong defensive skills. The 9x All-Star Payton made 9 NBA All-Defensive Teams, and was considered one of the best to never win a title before going on to win a ring in 2006 with the Miami Hear.

Kevin Garnett, 7th Best Defender of All-Time

7. Kevin Garnett

Kevin "The Big Ticket" Garnett was one fierce defender who played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Boston Celtics, and Brooklyn Nets. The 5x All-Star and 12x All-Defensive Team maker won the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2008 - which was the the same year that he, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen led the Celtics to a championship win.

Michael Jordan, 6th Best Defender of All-Time

6. Michael Jordan

Considered by many as the greatest NBA player of all time, M.J. was not only a genius on the offensive end - but he was also one incredible defender, as well. Leading the NBA in steals three times, the 14x All-Star and 9x All-Defensive Team maker Jordan was the 1988 Defensive Player of the Year with 6 NBA championships also under his belt.

Dikembe Mutombo, 5th Best Defender of All-Time

5. Dikembe Mutombo

One of the greatest shot-blockers In franchise history, the remarkable Hall-of-Famer and 8x All-Star Mutombo secured four Defensive Player of the Year awards while also leading the NBA in blocks for tree straight years - twice leading in rebounding.

Scottie Pippen, 4th Best Defender of All-Time

4. Scottie Pippen

Alongside teammate MJ who was thought to be the Batman to his Robin, the 10x All-Defensive Team maker Pippen made a case for being one of the greatest defensive talents in league history. With 6 NBA championships under his belt, this 7x All-Star never ceased to make us proud.

Dennis Rodman, 3rd Best Defender of All-Time

3. Dennis Rodman

Known for his hustle on the court, Dennis “The Worm” Rodman easily secures a spot at #3 in our Top 10 Best Defenders in NBA History list. With 5 NBA championships and 8 All-Defensive Teams, this famous “dirty work” player might just be the greatest rebounder of all time.

Hakeem Olajuwon, 2nd Best Defender of All-Time

2. Hakeem Olajuwon

Leading the NBA in blocked shots (and also in rebounding in 1989 and 1990), 2x NBA champion and 12x All-Star Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwon ranks fourth all-time in defensive win shares, and has won two Defensive Player of the Year awards. With that said, this defensive prodigy takes a prestigious spot at #2 on our Best NBA Defenders list with very good reason.

Bill Russell, Best Defender in NBA History

1. Bill Russell

Snagging the #1 spot on our Top 10 Best Defenders in NBA History list, the 12x All-Star, 5x MVP and whopping 11x NBA Champion Bill Russel had a legendary 133.64 defensive win shares. Russell’s unparalleled defence skills and strong team-first ethics played a fundamental role in leading the Boston Celtics to 11 title wins across 13 seasons.

And that concludes it! We hope you enjoyed our list of the Top 10 Best Defensive Players in NBA History who will certainly never be forgotten for their defensive talents.