Metta Sandiford-Artest will often be remembered as the guy who was involved in the 'Malice at the Palace' brawl. But he was an incredible defender during his time in the NBA.
That brawl created a 17-year long beef between Artest and Ben Wallace, but both players embraced peace over a week ago. Artest always saw himself as one of the best defenders in league history but did not get as many accolades as he'd have liked. Surprisingly, he has come out to credit Dennis Rodman for his defensive acumen, admitting that Rodman was a better defender than him.
Golden State Warriors Draymond Green invited him to his show, The Draymond Green Show, and they talked about the brawl, among other things.
Green asked Artest where he ranked himself among all-time wing defenders in the NBA and he said (from 41:55):
“So when I was during my prime, I definitely thought I was the best. I won a Defensive Player of the Year, and I probably would’ve won more if I wasn’t suspended.”
“But as I looked back at it and I was doing my research, especially after you came up with your comments. I actually looked at a lot of different wing defenders. And I think Dennis Rodman is probably the best wing defender that we’ve seen.”
“You’ve gotta go watch his tape, and I was looking at it. And I’m only familiar with him from the power forward position, but the way he guarded Jordan and Pippen, I was just like ‘Oh wow! This guy might be a wing defender than me!’ I never thought there were better wing defenders than me, you know!”
Rodman played more as a power forward in his time with the Chicago Bulls, but he started his career as a small forward. His intensity and ability to rebound despite being undersized set him apart from others in the league. Rodman won two Defensive Player of the Year awards and seven rebounding titles.
Artest, on the other hand, won only one Defensive Player of the Year award. Coming off an All-Star season, he looked good to win a second consecutive DPOY award, but he was suspended for the rest of the season due to the brawl, featuring in only seven games that season.