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Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball reveals his top five toughest players to guard in the NBA

Lonzo Ball, Pelicans

In a piece for The Players’ Tribune, New Orleans Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball listed his top five toughest players to guard in the NBA.

Ball is a pretty good defender, but these five guys are just too lethal on offense. The Pelicans guard is going with Damian Lillard, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and DeMar DeRozan.

Damian Lillard, PG, Portland Trailblazers

He can shoot from half court, so you have to pick him up right when he crosses that line. And any time you have to guard a guy out that far — especially someone who can move like Dame — it’s tough to stay in front of him because he just has so much space to maneuver.

James Harden, G, Houston Rockets

James’s stepback might be the most unstoppable move in the league. With James, it’s either gonna be a shot, or a foul. He kind of teases you by hanging the ball out there, like he’s daring you to take it. And as soon as you reach, he either hits you with the stepback while you’re leaning, or he’ll let you get into him and draw the foul. He’s savvy like that.

Kyrie Irving, PG, Brooklyn Nets

Kyrie has the best handle in the league. But the thing that makes him so tough to guard is that he doesn’t have any tendencies. You can’t gameplan for him and say, O.K., this is his strength, so I’m gonna try and take that away.

Kevin Durant, F, Brooklyn Nets

Seven-foot sniper. Can’t do nothing with it. To have that kind of size and still have a guard’s skill set is just crazy.

DeMar DeRozan, SG, San Antonio Spurs

I’m going to use this last spot to show some love to DeMar DeRozan. I give him a lot of respect … well, obviously because he’s from L.A. But also because the first time I stepped on an NBA court after getting drafted was against DeMar. It was during the offseason and we were at the Lakers’ facility before training camp even started. There was a bunch of guys working out in L.A. and we got a game of five-on-five going.

They put me on DeMar. And I’m not even joking … this guy was calling out his moves before he was even doing them. Going right. Going left. Fadeaway. Stepback. Shimmy. Turnaround jumper. And he just kept hitting shots.

It was like clockwork. There was nothing I could do with it. He put like 40 on me that day.