Friday, February 08, 2013

Other Than Bill Russell, Has Tim Duncan Had the Greatest Defensive Career of All-Time?

They didn't keep Defensive Rating during Bill Russell's career.  So, we will assume that his 133 Defensive Win Shares puts him #1 overall.  We move on to the rest.

A review of guys with over 80 Defensive Win Shares and defensive rating under 100 nets you a very select group of 6:

Jabbar, Hakeem, Duncan, Garnett, Ewing, Robinson.

If you sort this group by Defensive rating, Duncan wins (Duncan, David, Hakeem, KG, Kareem, Ewing)

If you sort this group by defensive rebound percentage, Duncan wins (Duncan, KG, Ewing, Hakeem, David, Kareem)

Duncan finishes 4th in block percentage (David, Hakeem, Ewing, Duncan, Kareem, KG)

Number of season with over 7 defensive win shares and a defensive rating at or lower than 99:
Duncan and Hakeem - 4
David - 3
Kareem 2
Ewing 2
KG 1

(note that Dwight Howard and Ben Wallace are on this list but they do not have 80 career defensive win shares)

If you drop the requirement to 6 win shares and a DRtg at or under 99:
Duncan 9 seasons
David 8
Ewing and Hakeem 6
KG 3
Kareem 2

First-Team All-Defense:
KG - 9
Duncan 8
Hakeem and Kareem 5
David 4
Ewing 0

Defensive Player of the Year
Hakeem 2
KG and David 1
Kareem, Ewing, Duncan 0

(note, Ben Wallace has 4 and Dwight Howard has 3).

I think the answer to the headline is yes - other than Bill Russell, Tim Duncan has had the greatest defensive career of any NBA player ever.

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