San Antonio Spurs All-Time Lists

Spurs' 5 Best defenders of the 21st century

Tim Duncan, Bruce Bowen
Tim Duncan, Bruce Bowen / Lisa Blumenfeld/GettyImages
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The San Antonio Spurs are perhaps the greatest team of the 21st century. Their four finals are tied for second with the Golden State Warriors, and only the Lakers, with six trophies, are ahead. They have made the playoffs the most times and have the highest winning percentage.

While Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan certainly deserve their flowers, most of the team's success can be summarized by two things: ball movement and defense. 

The old adage remains true: defense wins championships. The Miami Heat had LeBron James, who used to be an elite defender. The same can be said for the Kobe Bryant Lakers, the Bucks with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday, and the Warriors with Draymond Green.

It seems like Coach Pop won’t tolerate poor defense. Throughout their run, the Spurs never really had a defensive liability in the starting five. Patty Mills never excelled on defense, but he was more of a role player.

Tony Parker was never anywhere near an All-Defensive player, but he could hold his own. Even after the peak of the dynasty, the Spurs kept adding defensive-minded pieces. Dejounte Murray, Devin Vassell, Kyle Anderson, and Luka Samanic were all touted as defensive-minded players, and most of them ended up being exactly that.

The Spurs peaked in the early 21st century, so it only makes sense that the list of their best defenders has some all-time greats on it.