This is the third installment of my five-part series of ‘Top 25 Toughest Players to Guard in the NBA. Today, players 15-11 are unveiled. Feel free to leave a comment!
15. Tony Parker – Parker might be one of the most frustrating players to guard in the league. I have never seen a point guard come off down-screens, catch the ball, curl into the lane and shoot a floater like he can and does. He is a savvy veteran with the best floater in the game. Also, he is one of the smartest players in the game. I remember when he could only get to the basket. He had no mid-range game in the early stages of his career. Now he can shoot the ball and leads all point guards in points in the paint, year in and year out.
14. Rajon Rondo – Rondo doesn’t kill you from a scoring standpoint. But his ability to get to the basket and dish to the Celtics big-men makes him tough to check. He is one of the craftiest finishers in the game and the boy is a competitor. How many playoff triple-doubles does he have in his career? Eight? I would take this dude on my team any day.
13. Carmelo Anthony – You might be thinking: “How is Anthony no. 13 on this list? Is this man crazy?” No, I’m not crazy. What I saw this year from Anthony was pathetic. A high-volume of shots to get high point totals. Nonetheless, Anthony’s one-on-one game is off the charts. His strength and size compliments him well because he uses that size to post-up smaller forwards and that strength to get by stronger forwards. I like Melo’s game, but sometimes he relies too much on his jump shot. Even after having a disappointing season, Anthony is still one of the toughest to stay with throughout the course of a game.
12. Dirk Nowitzki – In the playoffs last year, Nowitzki was, by far, the toughest player to guard in the NBA. His ability to stretch the floor, with three-point shooting, and now the ability to get by guys and have the strength to finish with contact make Nowitzki a tough cover. You can’t block his shot because of his height (7’0) and high release. He can post you up, back you down, fade away on you, and pull-up in your face. He isn’t the quickest dude in the league, but deception is sometimes better than quickness.
11. Paul Pierce – Despite his age, Pierce can still get the job done. A lot of people don’t like Pierce’s game because it’s not flashy or spectacular. It’s slow, methodical, deceptive, and boring. But does it get the job done? It’s been getting the job done for the past 13 years. Pierce can shoot all over the floor; mid-range and three, he can get to the basket (has averaged 7.4 free-throw attempts per game for his career), and he used to be able to finish at the rim in his early days. Pierce’s game is something that little kids should watch because Pierce is more of a basketball player than a modern-day athlete that plays basketball. The dude is “The Truth” for a reason.