Former NBA Veteran Feared Guarding Suns Star Kevin Durant Over LeBron James

Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns

Getty Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns.

Phoenix Suns superstar Kevin Durant has been one of the NBA’s top offensive forces. With his combination of size and versatility, Durant has been a nightmare for defenders, including former player Chandler Parsons, who said guarding Durant was more difficult than guarding LeBron James.

“There’s harder matchups one-on-one,” Parsons said March 21 on FanDuel TV, adding fire to the conversation started by former player Mario Chalmers on March 17 about how James wasn’t “feared” by opposing players. “When I was playing, I feared guarding Kevin Durant more than I feared guarding LeBron James, just because of his ability to score in iso, the way he can break you off. The way you can play great defense, he can shoot over you. LeBron is more passive, right? He gets off by getting the extra pass and he’s less aggressive.”

Still, Parsons, who played in the league from 2011 to 2020, didn’t go so far as to say James wasn’t able to instill fear in the opposition.

“But let’s not get it twisted, there is fear when you see this man [James] coming downhill on you,” said Parsons, who was known for his defensive versatility. “Or even when you’re going for a layup and you know he’s coming behind you to block your layup off the backboard.”

Devin Booker Challenges Phoenix Suns to Improve With Kevin Durant Out

The Suns have had their struggles with Durant on the sidelines. He rolled his ankle March 8 during pregame warmups and was expected to be reevaluated after three weeks. Now, according to a March 20 report by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Durant could be back on the court by the end of March.

With the 11 games left in the regular season, the Suns know that time is crucial when it comes to finding their groove ahead of the NBA playoffs. The Suns are in fourth place in the Western Conference standings heading into their March 22 game against the Los Angeles Lakers. With only two games separating them from the sixth seed, Phoenix knows they need to start to come together with Durant out.

All-Star guard Devin Booker talked with’s Duane Rankin about how the Suns “have some things to clean up.” Booker said he he knew that roles would change with Durant’s return but said the team must get more polished in the meantime.

“We have some things to clean up,” Booker said. “We know roles are going to change when KD comes back, but polishing everything up before he comes back is important, too.”

Phoenix Suns Look to Take Care of Business Against Los Angeles Lakers

The Suns’ game against the Lakers begins what is arguably Phoenix’s most important stretch of games this season. According to Tankathon, the Suns have the most difficult remaining schedule among the Western Conference’s top 10 teams.

Phoenix is only 5-5 in its last 10 games and has lost four of six in Durant’s absence. After the Lakers, Phoenix will continue its road trip with a March 24 game against the Sacramento Kings (43-29, third place in the west) and a home game the following night against the Philadelphia 76ers (48-23, third place in the Eastern Conference).

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