Inside the Locker Room: Toughest opponent

By: Jim Eichenhofer,, @Jim_EIchenhofer

It’s long been said that NBA players are among the greatest athletes in the world, with few able to match their combination of size, strength, explosiveness and leaping ability. While you may be able to gauge the league’s most potent scorers from watching on television or while seated in an arena, it doesn’t necessarily provide a complete picture of how skilled and talented elite players can be.

To find out who are the most difficult players to defend in the NBA, asked the team’s nine veteran players (Hornets with at least one year of experience) a simple question: Who is the most difficult player to face at your position?

Al-Farouq Aminu
“Probably Dwyane Wade. He’s so fast, and him being shorter than me is actually an advantage for him, because he knows how to attack your hips. Plus, he always has the green light on offense to score whenever he can.”

Ryan Anderson
“The crafty guys who can do a lot more than what you might expect. A guy like (Phoenix forward) Luis Scola is so crafty around the rim. He can face up and shoot, but he’s quick getting to the rim and has all of these up-and-under moves where the shot goes in. Guys like him almost embarrass you, because they have such great footwork.”

Eric Gordon
“There are two guys – Dwyane Wade or Kobe Bryant.”

Xavier Henry
“Either Monta Ellis or Kevin Martin. Monta Ellis is really quick and really fast. Kevin Martin knows how to get to the free-throw line. He has all of these little tricks.”

Robin Lopez
“Al Jefferson of Utah is very skilled. He’s good at using his body and making himself bigger than he is. He’s very good with up-and-under low-post moves and very good at using both hands.”

Roger Mason
“Kevin Durant.”

Jason Smith
“Probably Dwight Howard. He’s a monster. He’s athletic, he’s super strong. He’s a one-of-a-kind player.”

Lance Thomas
“LaMarcus Aldridge of Portland. He was a tough guard. He shoots the ball very high so that you can’t block it. He’s also athletic and has a fadeaway jumper that you can’t guard.”

Greivis Vasquez
“Definitely Chris Paul.”