NBA Power Rankings: Top 15 Most Difficult Guys To Keep Out Of The Lane in NBA
Have you ever been ready to throw your remote at the TV because someone on the opposing team keeps getting into the lane at will?
Since hand checking was outlawed a few seasons ago, offensive players, particularly super-athletic, super-quick point guards, have become the wave of the future.
This is a look at the 15 players I feel are difficult to keep out of the lane.
It mostly consists of point guards, with a few shooting guards, and one very special small forward/point guard in the making sprinkled in.
Enjoy...and please comment with your own suggestions!
15. Sebastian Telfair
By all accounts Telfair has been a huge disappointment. Drafted 13th by the Portland Trail Blazers, expectations were sky high for him coming out of high school.
He was actually the leading scorer in New York State High School Basketball History (before Lance Stephenson, another Brooklyn native) broke the mark two years ago.
He's enjoying a somewhat mild resurgence with Minnesota, to whom he was traded back before this season. The reason he makes this list is because he is an absolute blur with the ball.
He's very difficult to stay in front of off the dribble (as this picture against one of the best defenders in the league) shows. He's a poor finisher, though, which has limited his success somewhat.
Still, he's got a great handle and is a very good penetrator. Now that Minny is starting to play a bit better, maybe more people will take notice.
14. Aaron Brooks
After starting his career in the D-League, Brooks is now the starting point guard for the Houston Rockets.
Though small, he's very quick and an excellent penetrator. He's a very good scorer, averaging 19.6 ppg last season.
Brooks was also on my list of most underrated players in the NBA. Definitely one to watch.
13. Ty Lawson
Ty was an absolute blur at North Carolina. He hasn't slowed up in the pros and is one of the best young players in the game.
He's backing up Chauncey Billups right now in Denver, which is why a lot of people aren't that aware of his game.
If Chauncey moves on or Melo is traded, he'll likely see an increase in minutes.
12. Devin Harris
Devin was starting to emerge as a really good player in Dallas before his trade to New Jersey. He's a lightning-quick guard and a pretty good all-around player.
He made the All-Star team a few years ago, but he was hit with injury last season and many people forgot about him.
Playing in New Jersey doesn't help, but his profile should raise a bit when the team moves to Brooklyn.
11. Steph Curry
His pops could shoot the lights out, and so can Steph. Yet he's also very good at getting into the lane.
10. Monta Ellis
Currently, he is the second-leading scorer in the NBA, at 26.8 ppg. In his second season paired up with Steph Curry, Monta is having a great start to the regular season (as is Curry).
He's got a nice handle and is slippery coming off screens. He's a very good penetrator and an accurate shooter.
9. Jamal Crawford
He might not have the best shot selection but the reigning sixth man of the year is a difficult cover. I've often wondered why he's not in the conversation for best crossover in the league.
The guy's crossover is absolutely sickening. I won't post it here but go to YouTube and look up Jamal Crawford crossover. You'll see what I mean.
He loves uncorking it, and uses it to get open on pull-up jumpers. Watch a Hawks game and you're bound to see it at least once.
8. Russell Westbrook
Westy's has storage...well, Russell has plenty to fill it up! Westbrook was terrific last season and a stint with USA Basketball and the gold medal has only elevated his play.
OKC has a legit 1-2 punch with him and Durant. He's one of the best defensive players in the league, as well as one of the best rebounding point guards in the game. Plus, he's a headache to keep out of the paint.
7. Deron Williams
D-Will has the tag of being slow and out of shape coming out of Illinois. Dee Brown was probably the star of that team. He's put all that to rest and along with Chris Paul is probably the best point guard in the league.
He's deceptively fast (sneaky quick) as they say. He's got a good first step and his strength makes him a great finisher.
Unless you have the NBA League Pass you can't really appreciate his greatness (and speed) unless you happen to live in Utah. Take note, D-Will is a great penetrator.
6. Chris Paul
We need to stop all the debate about who is the best point guard in the league. Last year when Paul went down with injury, the focus shifted to Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo.
CP3 is proving again this season why he's the best in the business. The other night against Miami, he penetrated in the lane with a few seconds remaining and instead of forcing a bad shot, hit Trevor Ariza in the corner for an open three.
Super competitive, super-quick, with a high basketball IQ, CP3 is truly one of the best in the game.
5. Rajon Rondo
One of the biggest pests (on both ends of the floor) but also one of the best game changers in the NBA.
Really hard to keep out of the paint and a great defender. He rankles management from time to time, but he's the future for the Celtics.
4. Dwayne Wade
I have a friend who gets so mad every time D-Wade drives to the lane that he can hardly bear to watch. He doesn't do it with a lot of fancy dribbling. He basically has a great first step and is really good at turning the corner, elevating, and either finishing strong or drawing the foul. Definitely one of the best in the game.
3. Derrick Rose
Along with Rondo and John Wall probably the hardest guy in the league to keep out of the lane. And like Wall and Westbrook this guy will hawk it on you if you don't d-up in the paint.
2. John Wall
Currently, the most electrifying player in the NBA. He might be the fastest guy end-to-end in the league. He can rise up and dunk it on you or blaze past you for an open layup. In my opinion, the most difficult guy to stay in front of in the NBA (aside from LeBron) and he's only a rookie.
1. LeBron James
No one in the league can (or wants) to stop him when he's barreling his way to the lane. Best in the business. Period.