When it comes to on-ball perimeter defenders, there are very few in NBA history who were at the level of Metta World Peace.
By the time World Peace joined the Los Angeles Lakers, he was beginning the downside of his career, but he made NBA All-Defensive Team four times and was named 2004 NBA Defensive Player of the Year — one of only three perimeter players to win the award over the last 25 seasons.
While with the Lakers, World Peace played a huge role in the team winning the 2010 NBA Finals, playing his usual hard-nosed defense while also coming up with timely offensive plays. Even still, the defense is what World Peace will always be known for, which makes him the ideal person to be able to name the toughest players to guard.
Of course, every great defender would have their own list as some players struggle with guarding certain types but World Peace recently took to Twitter to give his, which mixed some obvious familiar names with some lesser known players outside the New York area:
Top Ten hardest players I’ve ever guarded
1. Mike Chatfield- Queensbridge hustler(R.I.P)
2. Kobe Bryant
3. Strick- NYC legend (R.I.P)
4. Richard Hamilton
5. Michael Jordan
6. Lebron James
7. DP – NYC Legend
8. Paul McPherson
9. Far Rockaway
10. Junie Sanders- NYC legend
— Metta World Peace (@MettaWorld37) March 22, 2020
World Peace has always been very proud of his Queens, New York heritage so it is very in character of him to litter this list with New York legends. Among the NBA players, three of the four names would be expected with Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James. The fourth, however, could be a surprise to many in Richard Hamilton.
While Hamilton isn’t on the level of the other three players, his style of play undoubtedly caused problems for many. Unlike Bryant, James, and Jordan, Hamilton thrived without the ball, constantly moving through screens to get open and being almost automatic in the mid-range. For a player like World Peace who is a bigger and more physical defender, someone like Hamilton is the worst kind of player to have to chase around.
Bryant being the first NBA player is a sign to his unbelievable offensive repertoire and desire to win at all costs while Jordan being listed — despite World Peace only facing him in his Washington Wizards days — is a testament to his skill. World Peace’s word when it comes to defense is worth a lot so his list will surely be taken more seriously than most.