The end of this NBA season marked the end of the illustrious career of NBA Champion Paul Pierce. Often overshadowed by Kobe Bryant and Lebron James as the star of the 2000’s, Pierce was arguably one of the most dominant wing players of that decade. In an article he wrote to the Players Tribune, Pierce details the 5 toughest players he has ever guarded.
- Kobe Bryant
The epitome of a true competitor, Kobe Bryant had the desire to destroy opponents every night. He meticulously broke down every team’s defense, while wearing down his defender with each play. He made a career making guys lose confidence in their defense, so Paul advice is to never break down while guarding Kobe.
2. Tracy McGrady
A point guard in a small forward’s body, Tracy McGrady had a superior athleticism and skillset that made him one of Pierce’s most formidable opponents. Pierce had to try and deny McGrady the ball as much as possible, play physical defense, and limit transition points as much as possible.
3. Vince Carter
An athletic freak who had highlight plays every night, Vince Carter had serious elevation and often led the opposing team worrying about being put on ESPN later that night. Pierce would just have to try and hope Vince didn’t get hot from deep.
4. Lebron James
One of the greatest physical specimens the game has ever seen, LeBron James is the quickest and strongest to ever play the wing position. On top of that, LeBron has the ability to break your defense with his passing alone. Pierce admits that the only way to stop LeBron is to tackle him.
5. Carmelo Anthony
In Pierce’s eyes, Carmelo Anthony is the hardest player to guard in the NBA. Unlike Kobe, Carmelo is strong enough in the post to bully defenders, and unlike LeBron, Carmelo has a shooting touch to destroy a defender when given space. Simply put, he is not a fun defensive assignment.