Posted by Kevin Arnovitz
One of the best things about All-Star weekend is the breadth of talent all gathered in one location. You can't walk 50 feet in the Sheraton Downtown Phoenix without bumping into an NBA legend, past or present. This makes All-Star weekend the perfect occasion to gather opinions from players.
We thought it would be interesting to survey every player we stumbled across, and pose a single question to them:
Your basketball life is on the line and it comes down to a single possession. You're in isolation. Who's the last guy you want to see defending you? And how do you beat him?
We added that the nightmare defender doesn't have to be a current NBA player. It might be someone they played against in college, AAU, high school, even in a pickup game.
The field poll has just begun, but we're getting an assortment of great responses.
In the first installment of the series, we'll start with our rookies and sophomores:
Ron Artest. He's so strong. He uses his body well, his hands. He's very quick. He uses his feet well. You have to try to shoot over the top of him. Make him run around a little bit. Put him in pick-and-roll situations and stuff like that.
Reggie Evans. He's one of those guys who just doesn't care about anything. He's plays hard every second of the game. He'll get mad. He'll break your neck before he lets you score on him. You just gotta come with it against him. He and I got in a bit of a tussle, because me being who I am and where I'm from, I'm not one to be scared. But playing against guys like him...I love it. He makes you work a little harder, but it's fun and competitive. I like to bang, and he's a real strong guy.
Probably Ben Wallace. He's tough to move. He's a really solid defender. You can't back him down, so you have to be able to face him up, and probably take a couple dribbles in and try to go off the right or off the left with quick moves.
I play the 4, so all of them are hard to get by. But I'll say LeBron. When you lay the ball up, or you throw a hook shot, it's like he's there. You could've left him, but then he just comes out of nowhere and blocks your shot. And you're like damn, where in the hell did he come from?! I see him get lots of blocks in transition. You'll run the ball up and he just comes out of nowhere and swats it out of bounds.
My Dad. He's physical -- a real physical lockdown defender.
Bruce Bowen. He's just a good defender. He knows every trick in the book. It's really hard to beat him. The best thing to do if he's defending you is pass the ball.
Ron Artest. He's a big strong guy and it's definitely tough to hit a shot over him.