25: Scottie Pippen
Because he’ll always be remembered as the “Robin” to Michael Jordan’s “Superman,” we sometimes take the real greatness of Scottie Pippen for granted. The man moved with the grace of gazelle, used his long arms to swarm ball handlers like an octopus, and attacked opponents with the ruthlessness of an angry shark.
Named to an All-NBA team seven times over the course of his career and to the All-NBA defensive team 10 times over the course of his career, the argument can be made that Pippen is not only perhaps the greatest on-ball defender of all time, but one of the greatest two-way players of all time overall.
Even the staunchest supporters of the Bulls will tell you that Jordan might not have achieved the heights he did if not for having Pippen playing alongside of him.
24. Kevin Garnett
The godfather to the concept of the “unicorn” players we’re seeing in today’s NBA, Kevin Garnett possessed the basketball skills to legitimately play all five positions on the court, combined with an elite work ethic, on-court ferocity, and basketball IQ.
After playing 13 seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he became the team’s all-time leader in games, minutes, points, steals, assists, rebounds, blocks, and free throws, while being named an All-Star 12 times in that span.
The 2004 MVP single handedly carried some rather atrocious Timberwolves’ teams, and was finally rewarded for all his efforts when he was traded to the Boston Celtics in 2007, and won an NBA championship his first season there.