They don’t play defense in that league. How many times have you heard that said about the NBA over the decades?
Now that the call letters stand for No Bigs Allowed, that widely held belief is truer than ever. Fact is, because of the obsession with the 3-point shot, increase of spread offenses and more versatile athletes and adoption of namby-pamby rules designed to take the physicality out of the game, good D is harder to play than ever. Heck, if a team gives up two points on a possession, it’s a reason to bump fists nowadays.
For those reasons and others, you won’t see many recent names among the greatest defensive players ever.
Note: We wanted guys who brought it for an extended period of time, so the bar was set at 20,000 minutes, the equivalent of 25 minutes per game, 80 games per season for 10 seasons. Our apologies, George Mikan, K.C. Jones, George T. Johnson, Andre Drummond and Kawhi Leonard.