How much more help can you give than making every one of your teammates better? Rodman was an outsized personality, and he earned an outsized nickname. Wilt Chamberlain was tall (7-foot-1). In a 1971 NHL coaches’ poll: Keon tied for first in the category of best checker, finished second as best penalty killer and second as best skater. Joel Embiid likes to have fun. The Grizzlies don't run the most complex system in the NBA, but they do run one of the best. We just known that Hakeem Olajuwon is “The Dream.” It’s a rhyming nickname and a perfect one. Here is a quick look at the best defensive centers the game has ever seen. Also, players who statistically fell out of the top 10 for various reasons but who are better than their stats would suggest move up. Next: Still the record holder for career doubles. 2 on the all-time list, but he is the NBA's all-time rebound leader in the Playoffs (24.9) and in the Finals as well. So is everything else that Duncan does on defense. Hibbert's very presence makes opponents reluctant to bring the ball inside, and that's not something you can measure in his defense statistically. His name is Julius Erving, and he was a “doctor” of basketball, so he became known as Dr. J. However, there have been players like Fisher, Ginobili and Varejao who have done it the best, but also added nice acting performances that I'm sure would all get awarded. His 13.0 total defensive plays per 36 minutes was second best among all NBA players. He doesn't show a sense of urgency, and as a result, he gets lit up from there. Also a praiseworthy playmaker, Nighbor retired as the all-time assist leader in the regular season and playoffs combined at a time when assists weren’t given out like candy on Halloween night. He often intimidated players when driving to the rim. His 897 steals (including 54 steals of home) and 212 caught-stealing only hint to his relentlessly aggressive style. His versatility is a direct result of that awkward athleticism. Here’s my list: 1. He basically built the fundamentals of the blocked shot, who made blocking shots into an art form, because he had perfect timing, didn't foul the shooter and when he blocked the shot, kept his team in possession since he would tip the ball to his teammate or to himself. Truly, it was staggering just how important Bobby Clarke was to the Flyers as a defensive forward and to Canada in international competition (Valeri Kharlamov and Frantisek Pospisil may vote in a secret ballot against the notion though). Tyson Chandler was never the most athletic center in the league, even when he was young, and he's not young anymore. Kevin Garnett is among the first of the new breed of center/power forwards. On the other hand, he still needs to add strength. Howard is an elite help defender, and this year's Lakers are as much a testament to that as any Orlando team he ever played with. He leaves it all out on the court. He mostly stays at home with the opposing center, doing a good job of keeping him out of the restricted area and keeping him from scoring. It would be interesting to see what would happen if Horford could actually play his more pure position of power forward full time, but he's not playing there. It’s not an intimidating nickname, but it’s fresh enough to be fun. He uses his strength well too. Even as a dominant offensive player, Abdul-Jabbar wasn’t a slouch on defense. Though it might be the stuff of myth or legend, some may remark that the Frank J. Selke Trophy, awarded to the forward who demonstrates the most skill in the defensive component of the game, was created just to honor his career. It’s also super fun to call a guy “The Dunkin’ Dutchman.”. In 1998 he came back and played against Shaq in his prime once again and put up 27 points and 23 points in their only regular season matchups. Between 1990 and 1999, The Kid won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves, seven Silver Sluggers, and the 1997 MVP, when he posted 56 HR and 147 RBI. From the past, legends like Pippen, Jordan and many others excelled at this. When he's on the court, Hibbert mostly applies himself diligently, although sometimes he gets winded. Retired with a career average of 2.8 BPG. I personally think Robert Parish should be top 12. How many people call him Earvin Johnson? Regardless of where he gets placed, it doesn't impact the rankings here much. Once, strength was a liability for Noah. He needs to learn to play team defense better and to communicate with his teammates more. In fact, you'll rarely see the player he was switched onto—or from—score. There were many good rebounders in their own paint, but Artis Gilmore, with his 11.514 defensive boards are enough for me to consider him as No.