Alvin Robertson was one of the best combo guards defensively in NBA history

NBA Great Debates Part II: The 2nd All-Time All Defensive Team

I already ranked the All Time 1st defensive team.  Here’s the second team…


G- Dennis Johnson

DJ was a lock down defender at the guard position and enabled the great Celts teams to limit penetration even more so than they would have had Johnson not been donning green & white. He moved his feet well and was adept at stealing the ball both off the dribble and playing passing lanes. Johnson ranks #64 on my All-Time NBA player list.

G- Alvin Robertson

Robertson is so close to cracking the first team that it’s not even funny. He only won DPOY once, but he did it in an era dominated by some great players. He averaged 3.7 steals per game in the 85-86 season when he won the award, and was over three steals per game four other seasons in his 11 year NBA career. He wasn’t bad offensively either, averaging 14 points per game over his career, but it was his defense as a member of the Spurs that set Robertson above his competition. Robertson ranks #57 on my All-Time NBA player list.

F- LeBron James

LeBron now has the body of work to crack all time lists. Nine seasons into his career, he has proven he can cover players at every position and the job he did on Derrick Rose in the 2011 NBA playoffs took his defense to the stage. He showed at that point that his 6’8″ 265 pound body could move as well as one of the quickest guards in the league. Since that time, LBJ has only gained respect from a writer who was reluctant to give him credit as a defender. LBJ is now #19 on my all time list of players.

F- Kevin Garnett

KG simply made a good Celtics defensive team a great one. He’s a vocal leader defensively and an excellent one-on-one defender. Garnett won DPOY in 2007-08, after playing a decade of outstanding defense prior to winning the award. Garnett has averaged 1.3 steals and 1.5 blocks over his 16 year NBA career and it’s not even all about the numbers. Garnett is always there with the help side defense and does a lot of the little things (deflections, timely fouls, etc) that don’t even go noticed by casual basketball fans. Garnett is #21 on my all time list.

C- Hakeem Olajuwon

“The Dream” was undoubtedly the greatest shot blocker in NBA history. That’s no discredit to Bill Russell, whose blocks we have no gauge on. Until Dwight Howard did it against the Bobcats, Hakeem was the only player to record a triple double that included blocks. Hakeem won DPOY in 92-93 and 93-94, the latter of which was one of the Rockets’ back-to-back championship seasons. What made it all the more evident that Hakeem was a game changing defensive player was that he won those championships with no legitimate second fiddle offensively. His impact on both ends of the court earned him a #9 ranking on my all time NBA players.


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Tags: Alvin Robertson Dennis Johnson Hakeem Olajuwon Kevin Garnett Lebron James

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