George Karl's Player List: Best Defender

Nuggets coach reveals his selection for the best defender he's coached in 24 NBA seasons
by Aaron Lopez

George Karl’s teams have always been known for their high-scoring offense. People tend to forget that he has enjoyed coaching some pretty good defenders.

Gary Payton (1995-96) and Marcus Camby (2006-07) were named NBA Defensive Player of the Year while playing for Karl in Seattle and Denver, respectively. Allen Iverson finished in the top 10 in steals for the Nuggets in 2006-07, while Kenyon Martin could defend any position on the floor.

Over the course of 24 NBA seasons, Karl has emphasized defense as the best way to create easy baskets in transition.

Camby made his name defensively by protecting the rim.

Martin frustrated opponents by using his size, quickness and savvy.

Iverson and Payton became master thieves by utilizing their tremendous instincts and quick hands.

So which one was the best defender?

After revealing his choices for the best leader and the most talented and fastest players he’s ever coached, Karl pondered the defensive question in the latest installment of a video series on

Was it K-Mart, who was constantly lauded by opposing coaches but never voted to the NBA All-Defensive First Team? Was it Payton, whose defensive ability earned him the nickname “The Glove”? Was it Camby, who perfected the art of rotating from the weak side to block a shot?

Watch the video to find out who Karl considers the best defender he’s ever coached.

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