I remember my rookie year when I was in L.A., we were playing the Warriors at Staples, and with like 20 seconds left in OT, in a tie game, I got iso’d on KD at the top of the key. He started left, and man … he hit me with this cross, and he just straight up lost me. There was nothing I could do with it.Lonzo Ball, The Players Tribune
KD hit the shot, leaving Lonzo wondering was there something he could’ve done differently. But the answer to that question is always the same when going up against Durant. The combination of size and skills makes him one of the most unstoppable one-on-one players in NBA history. The only other guy who had the same skillset at that size was Tracy McGrady, and both of them made Lonzo’s top 5 list of the best 1-on-1 players in NBA history.
If I had to pick a top five for that — like, my five toughest one-on-one players of all time — I think I’d put KD and T-Mac in there. Then I’d go MJ, cause he’s the G.O.A.T. I’d have to put Kobe in there, too, because I’ve always been a Kobe guy. I grew up watching him. And then I’ll go with my man A.I., because he used to make guys look silly. He’s just a legend.Lonzo Ball, The Players Tribune
KD is the only current player who made Ball’s list. Guys like James Harden, LeBron James, who Lonzo shared the locker room with during his stint with the Lakers, as well as Steph Curry, didn’t make the cut.
This is where many would disagree with Ball – especially with the Harden omission. Ball did describe his step back as “the most unstoppable move in the league,” going on and on about his offensive versatility. However, he still gave an edge to KD.
The same goes for Curry and LeBron. Both of their offensive games aren’t as 1-on-1 oriented as Durant’s, or Harden’s, for that matter. That’s not to say both of them are great at it. But their point allocation is a lot more versatile.
Most of Steph’s scoring is through the pick and roll and the off-ball movement. LeBron gets his as a pick and roll ball handler, forcing switches that he then abuses at the all-time great level. But neither of the two is primarily a 1-on-1 player. Kevin Durant is.
I think he’s the most unstoppable guy in the league to guard one-on-one right now. You can tell by the way he plays and the way he carries himself that he thinks he’s the best player in the world. And there’s no reason he shouldn’t feel that way.Lonzo Ball, The Players Tribune
Overall, this is a great list by Lonzo. Let’s just hope he’s watching the ones he admires and trying to take something from each of them and add it to his offensive repertoire.