Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 5/14/12

This is the second installment of “25 Toughest Players to Guard in the NBA“. Here are players 20-16. Take a look and feel free to leave a comment!

20. Ty Lawson – Despite his size (5’11), Lawson is one of the toughest, strongest, and most explosive players in the league. He is as quick as a hiccup and can finish at the rim with the best of point guards and can also shoot from the outside (38.8% for his career). He destroyed the Los Angeles Lakers this past postseason series with pick-n-rolls and dribble-drives. Lawson’s strength allows to him to fend of defenders and his explosiveness helps him elevate over what would-be shot-blockers.

19. Blake Griffin – It’s almost impossible to stop an alley-oop, especially with the way Griffin can jump. He is explosive, strong, and talented. At this point in his career, Griffin relies more on his brute strength and not his talent or skill. He can’t shoot consistently from the outside, but he has a nice handle with the ball and is quick enough to get by most power forwards. It hurts that he can’t shoot free-throws either. As his game evolves maybe he will move up this list.

18. James Harden – He can do-it-all. He can shoot, penetrate, drive-and-kick, anything you’d want from a two-guard, Harden can do. He isn’t the quickest dude, but he is methodical, almost herky-jerky; like Paul Pierce, helps him get by defenders. Deception is what you’d call it. He is a great pick-n-roll player, maybe one of the best in the game and can get to the basket as well as any player in this league. Also, he shoots 39% from the three-point line, making him a dual-offensive threat. If he was a starter, we would know more about Harden as in terms of mass production.

17. Steve Nash – What can’t this man do? Nash can run the pick-n-roll and shoot, he is extremely crafty and a shot “creator” and shot-maker. You don’t know what Nash is going to do when he has the ball. He might dime it off to a rolling Marcin Gortat or throw a no-look skip-pass to a shooter in the opposite corner. Nash has opponents playing on their heels despite being old as dirt. He isn’t quick or strong, but just a good basketball player who can make up his mind faster than any other player on the floor.

16. Ray Allen – Is there anything tougher than chasing a man who is constantly running off single, double, and triple screens? Allen has made a Hall-of-Fame career doing that. Allen came out of the womb running off screens. He has the quickest release of any player who has ever played basketball and his form is picture-perfect. In his early days, Allen was a little more of a “slashing-shooter”, but over time he has perfected his stroke to the point where he could score 20 a game by coming off just screens. And if you foul him, remember he makes his free-throws at a 90% clip.

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