The NBA has had some great perimeter defenders over the years. In today’s game, defense is a lost art. The NBA is more about scoring; not like the 1980’s and 1990’s. However, in the 2000’s, there were still some great perimeter defenders.
When you talk about man-to-man defense, very few players were better than Bruce Bowen. He was 6’7″ and could guard multiple positions with his quick feet and tough, hard-nosed defense. In the early 2000’s, Bowen made five NBA All-Defensive First Teams and three Second Teams. The former Spur could guard ball handling points guards, but was at his best covering the opposing team-leading scorer. Bowen was great at getting in the opposing player’s heads by crowding their landing space when they would come down from a jump shot.
Metta World Peace
When you think of some of the best defensive players, you can not leave out Metta World Peace. World Peace had solid footwork and the skills to play tough defense. His aggressiveness made him one of the top defenders of all-time. World Peace was so strong and moved well, so it was hard to go around or through him. In 2003-04 season, World Peace won the Defensive Player of the Year award. The one thing that was amazing about World Peace was the consistency and the longevity of his defense; he played many years of high-level defense.
Bryant does not get much credit for his defense, but he is one the best defenders in NBA history as well. When Bryant wanted to lock in on defense, he could shut you down. He forced players to take difficult shots. Bryant was a ten-time All-Defensive Team and eight-time All-First team player.
Jason Kidd was known as a passer, but he was an excellent defender as well. Kidd could stick with his man with his fantastic footwork and was great at stealing the ball from opposing players. With his basketball IQ, Kidd could anticipate opposing players’ moves. Before he got to the Nets, they were ranked 23rd in defense. After Kidd came along, they jumped up to #1. Kidd made a total of nine All-Defensive teams.