Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 5/17/12

It’s going to make me cry but this is the last installment of “Top 25 Toughest Players to Guard in the NBA. It has been a fun four day ride but, like all good things, it must come to an end. Today I unveil players 5-1. Here we go! (Tear, tear)

5. Chris Paul – Is there anything Paul can’t do? He is a magician with the ball, a fierce competitor, strong as hell, and super-talented. He might not be the biggest, quickest, or most explosive point guard; like Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook, but this possesses all the intangibles that make him the toughest point guard to guard in the league. He can fend-off the bigger guards with his strength and blow-by them with his quickness. He is a clutch performer and brings a winning attitude everywhere he goes. He will keep coming at you all night long.

4. Dwyane Wade – I think three or four years ago, Wade would have topped my list. Actually, with Wade teaming-up with LeBron James, it might make him tougher to guard. But Wade has some games where he looks like he has lost a step. All the injuries and pounding that his knees have taken over the years are starting to take a toll on him. With that being said, Wade is still a very good player. He is starting to add more deception to his game due to him losing some of his athleticism. He is big, strong, physical, and a tremendous shot-maker. Despite his scoring average being the lowest since his rookie season (22.1), Wade is still an elite player.

3. Kobe Bryant – Bryant is still getting the job at age 33. He will go down as one of the greatest players of all-time and rightfully so. He is the ultimate competitor and doesn’t think anyone can stop him. That’s just the type of mentality that he has. He can everything from posting-up smaller defenders to launching long-range three-pointers for game-winners. He is still one of the best finishers at the rim in the game. His size and strength are starting to take over for the quickness that he is losing. He isn’t quite as explosive as he once was, but come on now, this boy can still play. I am a little afraid that he is becoming a volume-shooter (he took 23 shots per game last season). Nonetheless, Bryant checks in at no. 3 on this list.

2. LeBron James – “The Runaway Freight Train” checks in at no. 2 on my list. While his physique is top-notch, he doesn’t possess all the necessary tools to be no. 1 on my list. He can drive, shoot, and even post-up a little. He is one of the strongest players in the league and one of the most explosive and athletic players to ever play basketball. His strength and quickness make him a tough player to stop and now it looks like he has even added a little floater to his game. For how much James is criticized, people don’t realize how great this dude actually is at basketball. I still think he is more of an athlete than a basketball player, but he does so much for his team. I just don’t think he is as good as the next guy on my list.

1. Kevin Durant – Durant tops my list of toughest players to guard. He can make literally every shot in the book and has a lot of moves in his arsenal. He can post-up, come off screens, pull-up, and get to the rim with the best players in basketball. He is the ultimate go-to guy in crunch-time. At 6’11, Durant has the length over almost every player in the league. It seems like it takes him one dribble from the three-point line to get to the basket. He is a very good athlete, but he is more of a pure basketball player. He was born to score, too. He already has three NBA scoring titles and is only 24 years old. He has the best stroke in the game and his game seems to get better every year. His frame is a little fragile because he is so skinny, but he has avoided injury so far in his young career. He might go down as one of the best scorers of all-time.

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