NBA

Ranking Joakim Noah Among The 15 Greatest Defenders In NBA History

Ranking Joakim Noah Among the 15 Greatest Defenders in NBA History

Joakim Noah
Getty Images

Joakim Noah was recently named the DPOY for the 2013-14 season. Noah has established himself as one of the best defensive centers in the NBA. Find out where he ranks all-time among the top 15.

16. Honorable Mentions

Orlando Magic v Sacramento Kings
Getty Images

16. Honorable Mentions

Orlando Magic v Sacramento Kings
Getty Images

Honorable Mentions:

Dwight Howard, Alonzo Mourning, Sidney Moncrief, Mark Eaton, Jason Kidd, Bruce Bowen, Kobe Bryant

15. Nate Thurmond

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics
Getty Images

15. Nate Thurmond

Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Boston Celtics
Getty Images

Anyone who could guard Wilt Chamberlain one-on-one deserves to be on this list. In fact, his nickname was "Will Stopper". He was a bruiser down low, rebounded well and was a terrific shot blocker. Thurmond played in a time when blocks and steals were not recorded, nor was there a DPOY. He did make two All-Defensive Teams at the end of his career.

14. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics
Getty Images

14. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Boston Celtics
Getty Images

Kareem made 11 All-Defensive Teams and anchored a championship team six times. He is third all-time in blocks, but he never won the DPOY award. Abdul-Jabbar made it nearly impossible for opponents to get points at the rim.

13. Joakim Noah

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Two
Getty Images

13. Joakim Noah

Chicago Bulls v Miami Heat - Game Two
Getty Images

Joakim Noah's resume is incomplete, but he still deserves to be in the top 15. He does everything you want a defensive anchor to do. He is a tenacious rebounder, he protects the rim, he hustles and can even guard the perimeter. So far, Noah has made the All-Defensive Team three times and has won the DPOY once. There are certainly many more to come.

12. Metta World Peace

Celtics v Pacers
Getty Images

12. Metta World Peace

Celtics v Pacers
Getty Images

Metta was one of the best perimeter defenders the game has ever seen when he was Ron Artest. He's strong, quick, aggressive and never backs down. He sets the tone in every single matchup. Hear what players like Kobe Bryant and Paul Pierce have to say about Metta's antics. He made three All-Defensive Teams and won the DPOY in 2004.

11. Tim Duncan

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors - Game Six
Getty Images

11. Tim Duncan

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors - Game Six
Getty Images

Without Duncan down low, who knows how good the Spurs would be? Duncan doesn't put up flashy defensive numbers, but he shuts down his opponent in the post on a consistent basis. Timmy D has been on 11 All-Defensive Teams throughout his career.

10. Dikembe Mutombo

Milwaukee Bucks v Houston Rockets
Getty Images

10. Dikembe Mutombo

Milwaukee Bucks v Houston Rockets
Getty Images

Mutombo is the second-greatest shot blocker in NBA history. He is second only to Hakeem Olajuwon. The big center was on the All-Defensive Team five times and won the DPOY three times. Players rarely tried shooting over Mutombo.

9. Scottie Pippen

Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks, Game 5
Getty Images

9. Scottie Pippen

Chicago Bulls vs. New York Knicks, Game 5
Getty Images

Pippen was certainly one of the best individual defenders in history. He never won the DPOY, but made the All-Defensive team in eight straight years. Pippen always guarded the best opposing player. He is currently sixth all-time in steals.

8. David Robinson

1995 Western Conference Finals, Game 4:  San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets
Getty Images

8. David Robinson

1995 Western Conference Finals, Game 4:  San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets
Getty Images

I'll Take "The Admiral" on my team any day. This guy was an absolute beast. His presence made it extremely difficult for teams to score inside, and his strength was something to be reckoned with. He was on eight All-Defensive Teams and won a DPOY.

7. Michael Jordan

1996 NBA Finals Game 1:  Seattle SuperSonics vs. Chicago Bulls
Getty Images

7. Michael Jordan

1996 NBA Finals Game 1:  Seattle SuperSonics vs. Chicago Bulls
Getty Images

Michael Jordan is best known as a scorer, but is underrated as a defender. He won the DPOY in 1988 and made nine All-Defensive Teams. He currently ranks as the third all-time steals leader. When Pippen joined MJ, it took much of the load off of him and they became a scary defensive duo.

6. Kevin Garnett

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics
Getty Images

6. Kevin Garnett

Miami Heat v Boston Celtics
Getty Images

Kevin Garnett was the perfect anchor on any defense. He was everywhere in the paint playing help defense and could stop the toughest post threats. He transformed players like Paul Pierce and Ray Allen into great defenders and made all of his teammates better. KG brought a certain intensity that is hard to emulate. He's been on nine All-Defensive teams and won the DPOY in 2008.

5. Gary Payton

Payton drives
Getty Images

5. Gary Payton

Payton drives
Getty Images

"The Glove" was a terrific defender by using his quickness, great anticipation and good hands. He ranks fourth all-time in steals and was able to guard both point guards and shooting guards. It seemed as if he never got tired on the court. Payton won the DPOY in 1996 and made All-Defensive Teams.

4. Dennis Rodman

1998 NBA Finals Game 3: Utah Jazz vs Chicago Bulls
Getty Images

4. Dennis Rodman

1998 NBA Finals Game 3: Utah Jazz vs Chicago Bulls
Getty Images

Dennis Rodman was an absolute freak both on and off the court. He was only 6-foot-7, but it seemed he was much taller when he was in the paint. Rodman could shut down any player, from point guards to centers. He hustled, rebounded, blocked shots and guarded anyone on the perimeter. Rodman won two DPOYs and was on the All-Defensive Team seven times.

3. Ben Wallace

Pacers v Pistons
Getty Images

3. Ben Wallace

Pacers v Pistons
Getty Images

Wallace made up for his stature of 6-foot-9 with his great leaping ability, athleticism and strength. Players feared driving in the lane when Big Ben was manning the paint. He made six All-NBA Defensive Teams and won four DPOYs. Wallace made the Pistons' D the best in the league in the mid-2000s. Not to mention, he was the only player to shut down Shaquille O'Neal in his prime.

2. Hakeem Olajuwon

Houston Rockets
Getty Images

2. Hakeem Olajuwon

Houston Rockets
Getty Images

Hakeem is the seventh all-time leader in steals, the highest of any center in history. His defense led Houston to two titles. He won the DPOY twice, made five NBA All-Defensive First teams and is the only player in history to make the top 10 in blocks, steals, rebounds and scoring.

1. Bill Russell

New York Knicks Vs. Boston Celtics
Getty Images

1. Bill Russell

New York Knicks Vs. Boston Celtics
Getty Images

Bill Russell anchored all nine of his titles as a player. When Russell played, blocks and steals were not recorded and the All-Defensive Team did not exist until the end of his career. At 6-foot-9, he piled up block after block and was able to shut down Wilt Chamberlain. Russell brought a whole different dynamic to team defense, and he is living proof that championships are built on defense.