Part two of my five of the best defenders in each decade covers the 1990s. The first part included the 1980s. The 1980s were easy players to pick; the 1990s were a little challenging to choose from. In the 90s there were a lot of excellent defensive players.
NBA: Five Of The Best Defenders Of The 1990s
Gary Payton had the nickname “The Glove.” The name fits Payton perfectly; he is fourth all-time in steals with 2,445. Also, Payton won the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 1996. He is the only point guard to win the DPOY. Gary was well known for his trash talk on the court; he could get inside the opposing player head. Payton’s trash talk along with his defensive skills made it tough for anybody to score on him. Gary Payton made six first All-NBA Defensive Teams in the 1990s.
What more can we say about Michael Jordan, along with his ability to score the basketball? He was just as good of a defender as well. Jordan could guard multiple positions, with his size and quickness. He also had long arms and quick hands and played defense with tremendous intensity. Jordan made eight first All-NBA Defensive Teams. Michael could score on you then turnaround and lock you down.
Pippen is the greatest perimeter defender of all time. He had tremendous length, versatility, and quickness. Like Jordan, Pippen also had long arms and quick hands. The former Bull star could guard the one through four positions and sometimes the five. Pippen led the NBA in steals in 1995 and made eight straight first All-NBA Defensive teams.
Dennis Rodman was probably one the versatile defenders ever. Rodman could guard all five positions. Dennis had a high basketball IQ and knew how to use his leverage against a bigger and stronger player. Rodman made first All-NBA Defensive teams six times in the 90s. Dennis Rodman was well known for his rebounding and tenacious defense.
Hakeem Olajuwon is the All-Time leader in blocked shots with 3,830. Olajuwon led the NBA in blocks three times in the 90s. He averaged four-blocks a game twice in the decade. Also, Olajuwon won NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1993 and 1994. It was almost impossible to finish at the basket with Olajuwon down in the paint. He made players think twice about driving to the basket.