The ability to bench press over 300 pounds is typically seen as a unimportant measure of how good a basketball player is. Remember Kevin Durant at the pre-draft combine in 2007? Yeah, exactly. In basketball, a player can get away without that unique strength. Basketball players simply mark strength differently.
Players rely on completely separate strengths depending on their particular skill-set. For instance, James Jones, known primarily as a 3-point specialist, wasn’t known to lift much when he was on the Phoenix Suns. That won’t work for a player like Al Horford, who is forced to bang bodies down low and take a beating every night against bigger players. He will, more than likely, break down much quicker without that extra strength.
In judging the strongest players in the NBA, I decided to not completely discount the guard position. They may not be classified as the “strongest” compared to their center brethren, but they should be when compared relative to their position and size. Many factors contribute to the overall strength of a player: sheer size, toughness, fearlessness, the ability to remain in the paint without being moved, as well as the ability to take contact at the rim.
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15. DeJUAN BLAIR
Blair plays much bigger than his height. He is listed at 6-7 and 270 pounds, yet he crashes the boards and boxes out players five inches taller than him. He has been able to remain in the NBA without an ACL in either knee. That leaves him exposed to career-threatening injuries for every rebound that he jumps for. Try not to get in his way when he grabs a rebound, he may just take you out.
And remember what he did to Hasheem Thabeet in college? They had to pick the UConn center’s remains off the floor afterwards.
14. AMAR’E STOUDEMIRE
Stoudemire may have fallen from “superstar” to “half a star” but he is still highly regarded for his offense efficiency and ability to power himself in the paint. When he returned from his knee cyst during the 2012-13 season, he developed an inside game that consisted of him barreling into the chests of his opponent and dunking the ball on their head. Stoudemire showed off his impressive physique in the ESPN “Body Issue” in 2010.
13. NATE ROBINSON
One of the most tenacious players in the NBA, Robinson drives to the paint with reckless abandon. Robinson is listed at 5-9, even though most think he is 5-7, and weighs in at 180 pounds as one of the NBA’s very best all-around athletes. Robinson constantly displayed his ability to take on challenges and much larger defenders when push came to shove during the 2012-13 season.