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I think its Hakeem "Dream" Olajuwon. He ruled the paint defensively. The impact of interior defense on a game is greater than the effect of great perimeter defenders like Jordan & Pip. He's the all-time leader in blocked shots. He's the only player who ranks in the league's all-time top 10 in both blocks & steals. He started fastbreaks by getting steals & sending shots back to the other end so it resulted in easy points for his team.
 

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1. Hakeem Olajuwon
2. Bill Russell
3. David Robinson
4. Scottie Pippen
5. Dikembe Mutombo

Dennis Rodman just barely missed the top-five.
 

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Minstrel said:
1. Hakeem Olajuwon
2. Bill Russell
3. David Robinson
4. Scottie Pippen
5. Dikembe Mutombo

Dennis Rodman just barely missed the top-five.
I can go with that, although Hakeem and Russell are interchangeable to me, and I can arrange Pippen, Mutombo and Rodman in just about any order.
 

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It's got to be Hakeem (though Mutombo comes close) I know it's not all about the stats but nobody has ever averaged 10 defensive rebounds and 4.5 blocks per game in a season but Hakeem. Bill Russell might have, but we'll never know, and back then players were getting like 80 rebounds per game, so I'll go with
1. Hakeem
2. Mutombo
3. Russell (he could be #1, but I really can't judge since I never saw him play)
4. Rodman (arguably, Jordan would only have 3 rings if he never joined the bulls, and the 'Bad Boys' wouldn't be bad enough w/o him)
5. Big Ben (if he wins DPOY again, he'll have more than anyone in history)
 

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Bill Russell!

The Celtics were the worst team defensively for the 3 seasons before he got there. When he arrived, the Celtics led the NBA in point differential for 10 straight seasons and were either #1 or #2 in points allowed for 9 straight seasons in the '60s.

And he held the most dominating offensive force in Wilt Chamberlain to 6 points under his average over their 147 meetings. Can you imagine someone holding Jordan (with the Bulls) to 24 ppg over 147 games? Enough said.
 

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Bill Russell. I never saw him play but everyone says he was the man and I believe it by what he accomplished.

He might be the greatest player ever if everyone counted team play and defense as important as they do offense and shooting.
 

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1. Hakeem
2. Russell
3. Rodman
4. Dikembe
5. Payton
 

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GTA Addict said:
Bill Russell!

The Celtics were the worst team defensively for the 3 seasons before he got there. When he arrived, the Celtics led the NBA in point differential for 10 straight seasons and were either #1 or #2 in points allowed for 9 straight seasons in the '60s.

And he held the most dominating offensive force in Wilt Chamberlain to 6 points under his average over their 147 meetings. Can you imagine someone holding Jordan (with the Bulls) to 24 ppg over 147 games? Enough said.
I recall something similar to Jordan's scoring average when defended by Doug Christie... As great as Bill Russell might have been, I can imagine if you took Hakeem back to the 50s/60s where the average player was 6'3"-6'4" he'd outdo Russell on the defensive end.
 

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mysterio said:
I recall something similar to Jordan's scoring average when defended by Doug Christie... As great as Bill Russell might have been, I can imagine if you took Hakeem back to the 50s/60s where the average player was 6'3"-6'4" he'd outdo Russell on the defensive end.
I don't think it's fair to compare players by saying "if this player played back then...", but rather compare how they played against their competition. That said, I don't have any problem with anyone saying Hakeem is the greater defender. He consistently shut down Patrick Ewing, befuddled David Robinson, and denied Shaq post position probably better than anyone else.
 

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GTA Addict said:
I don't think it's fair to compare players by saying "if this player played back then...", but rather compare how they played against their competition. That said, I don't have any problem with anyone saying Hakeem is the greater defender. He consistently shut down Patrick Ewing, befuddled David Robinson, and denied Shaq post position probably better than anyone else.
Yeah, that was a thought echoing in my head after I posted that. Against his competition, as far as his standing amongst his peers, Russell was peerless for the time he played in the league in terms of defense. Nobody's ever been as dominant for as long as he was.
 

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The numbers of said centers against Hakeem (credit to Hakeem, the forum member, for the research)

Robinson's league average, '90-96: 25.6 ppg on 52.6%
Robinson vs. Hakeem from '90-96: 22.1 ppg on 46.8%

Ewing's league average, '89-96: 24.9 ppg on 50.9%
Ewing vs. Hakeem from '89-96: 20.7 ppg on 41.0%

Shaq's league average, '93-96: 27.2 ppg on 58.1%
Shaq vs. Hakeem from '93-96: 23.9 ppg on 57.6%

Shaq maintained his high FG%, but his average against Hakeem was 3.3 points lower than his normal 27.2 ppg from '93-96. Robinson and Ewing were just dominated.
 

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myst said:
If Zo never had his kidney ailment he would be in he top 5.
Don't know about that, but I'll give you top 10. If Russell, Olajuwon, Robinson, Pippen, and Mutombo are my top 5, than the next 5 probably include Rodman, Payton, Mourning, and...candidates are Jordan, Ben Wallace, Ron Artest, Bruce Bowen, Mychal Cooper, and--I know I'm missing several others.
 
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