It is said that defense wins championships, and over the course of the history of the league, that notion has been proven right a lot more often than not. Just take this past season, for example, where the top 2 teams in Defensive Rating were the ones that made it to the Finals, with the Celtics leading the way at 106.2 while the Warriors were right behind them at 106.6.
Those two teams were led by Robert Williams III and Draymond Green on the defensive end, with both of them being rewarded with a spot in the All-Defensive Second Team. The All-Defensive First Team, meanwhile, featured Marcus Smart, who won DPOY to go with Mikal Bridges, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Rudy Gobert. While that is an impressive group, it still pales in comparison to the All-Defensive First Team from the 2000-01 season, which in some ways can be looked at as the gold standard. It featured some of the best defenders the game has ever seen, and anyone would have a rough time scoring on this bunch.
2001 NBA All-Defensive First Team
Tim Duncan: 22.2 PPG, 12.2 RPG, 3.0 APG, 0.9 SPG, 2.3 BPG
Kevin Garnett: 22.0 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 5.0 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1.8 BPG
Dikembe Mutombo: 10.0 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.4 SPG, 2.7 BPG
Gary Payton: 23.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 8.1 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.3 BPG
Jason Kidd: 16.9 PPG, 6.4 RPG, 9.8 APG, 2.2 SPG, 0.3 BPG
That is almost as good as it can get on the defensive end. Duncan's inclusion here was one of his record 15 selections into All-Defensive teams in his career, while Garnett is tied for second all-time with 12. Payton and Kidd, meanwhile, are tied for 6th with 9 each, with only Kobe Bryant having more selections among guards.
The last remaining member in Mutombo only made it in 6 times, but he won 4 Defensive Player of the Year awards, which is tied for the most in league history. We may never see such a talented group of individuals on the defensive end playing at the same time in the NBA ever again.