Defensive “Great” Bruce Bowen?

I was on my nightly trip by the ESPN water cooler tonight when I saw this headline:

Defensive great Bowen retires after 12 seasons

The article is written by Marc Stein, who I think is always great.  Full disclosure — I am a Dallas Mavericks fan, so there may be some San Antonio bias here, but I will do my best.  Bruce Bowen was always a “dirty” player.  He was a good defensive player who was overrated by the fact that he began to shine the past few years, when NOBODY in the league played any defense at all.  Bruce Bowen, great?  He jumped on ankles, undercut players, pulled and grabbed , and generally just annoyed people.  Annoying is good as a defensive player, but I always thought he pushed the bounds of good sportsmanship.

Tayshaun Prince has been a better defensive player than Bowen for years, but always finishes  second-team NBA all defense.  I realize all the NBA awards are based on something other than actual play, but he has always bothered me.  The guy could hit one shot (the corner three) and couldn’t hit a free-throw to save his life.

I think a lot of players could look pretty good defensively funneling traffic to Tim Duncan.

Thoughts?  BTW, I don’t even think Bowen is the best Spur defender of the last 20 years.  That would be Alvin Robertson.

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