Dear God. In all my days doing this exercise, I don't know if a question has given me more trouble. I've gone over this about a billion times since I first saw this tweet, and every single time I talk myself into a different combination. These are arguably the four best perimeter defenders the NBA has ever seen, how do you choose? No matter who you end up cutting you can get clowned for getting rid of one of the best defenders in NBA history. What a diabolical question, but just like all the tough decisions we've had to make with these type of exercises during quarantine, I have my answer. As always, allow me to break down my thought process.
Right off the bat, there were two absolute locks for me to make my final three. That would be Gary Payton and Kawhi Leonard.
Quite frankly, Gary Payton is probably the best or second best defensive guard of all time. I don't care what lies Michael Jordan tried to tell us during The Last Dance, Payton guarding him in 1996 made a difference and if you are able to give the GOAT issues, you're making my list. Period. He's one of five guards all time to win a DPOY award. If we're talking perimeter defense there is no possible way Gary Payton isn't in the final group.
Then we have Kawhi. You know, a two time DPOY winner. Someone who can guard point guards or athletic wings on the perimeter at a high level. Seeing as how he's the only one of the four to win that award multiple times, I'm not sure how you vote him off. This is obviously assuming everyone is at 100% health. But you know what? Just like we saw in the playoffs last year, even an injured Kawhi is still a lockdown defender.
Which brings us to our final two. A choice between the two Bulls. The GOAT vs a player who is one of the best two way SFs of all time. You look at their career averages on the defensive end and they are eerily similar. It's a decision that could go either way and one I struggled with. Maybe you lean more towards Pippen because he had to guard the #1 option of the opposing team every night. We're talking 9 All NBA Defense teams for Jordan compared to 10 for Pippen.
Ultimately, I had to cut the only player of the four who did not with DPOY, which is Scottie Pippen. Like I said earlier, this is an impossible question because this collection of defenders is all time stuff, but someone has to go. They are all so even across the board I needed to find something, and DPOYs is really the only thing you can point to.
So that's my list. Remember, we're talking perimeter defense here.
Is that how you would rank em? If not, give me your list and reasons why.