Sometimes, the best evaluators of NBA players are players themselves. With an up-close-and-personal look at the best of the best, they can catch subtle nuances that fans will often miss.
Recently, Phoenix Suns forward Jared Dudley appeared on “In The Zone With Chris Broussard“, and one of the topics discussed was which player as the most difficult for Dudley to guard. A ten-year NBA veteran known for his hard-nosed defense, Dudley has matched up with some of the best to ever set foot on the hardwood. With a Finals matchup between LeBron James and Kevin Durant looming, the player sitting at the top of Dudley’s list may have been something of a surprise:
Who's the toughest to guard – Kobe, LeBron, or Durant?
— FS1 (@FS1) May 14, 2017
Dudley selected Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant as the most difficult to guard, putting him ahead of talented forwards James and Durant. When asked to explain, Dudley referenced Bryant’s mentality, which was certainly legendary. Bryant was a cerebral assassin, breaking down teams using his incredible basketball mind and ruthless demeanor.
Dudley also cited the triangle offense as making Bryant difficult to defend, something that is probably music to the ears of Phil Jackson now that his offense has become such a controversial topic in New York. To top it all off, Dudley explained that Bryant was always in attack mode, which gave defenders little to no time to rest over the course of a game.
Of course, Dudley also praised the games of Durant and James, stating that James could drop 30 points on someone without feeling like he was destroying them because he would get 10 easy points in transition each game. Still, given the difficulties the Lakers have experienced in recent years, it’s nice to hear that one of the most dogged defenders of the past decade believes Bryant was a cut above the rest.