CHARLOTTE -- One of the coolest parts of NBA All-Star Weekend is hearing the best players in the world marvel at one another's skills. Kyrie Irving's handle. Stephen Curry's shot. These guys play to win, yes. But in the NBA fraternity, the respect of your fellow players might be what means the most. So I decided to ask a handful of players and coaches: If they could construct the perfect basketball player using different skills from different players, who, and what, would they choose. Here are their answers.
"Giannis' raw athleticism, my shooting, Kemba's quickness, Paul George's hops, Russell [Westbrook's] competitive will, Nikola Vucevic's touch. [Nikola] Jokic's passing ability, D'Angelo [Russell's] swag, I like to call it. Kyle Lowry, his IQ on the court is crazy. Dirk [Nowitzki's] longevity. That's pretty good."
"I'd definitely take Kyrie's handles. LeBron's playmaking ability. Steph [Curry's] shot. Kawhi's defense and my rim-protecting ability."
"Kevin Durant's length. His length is crazy. [Durant] or Giannis, one of the two. LeBron's left calf. That's his jumping leg. Every time you see him dunking, what leg is he jumping off? I want his left leg. Steph's shooting arm. Kyrie's handle. Klay [Thompson's] build. Six-foot-seven. I wish I was taller every day. That would be it. I would have everything."
"The pieces I would take from these guys, I would be unstoppable. James Harden's step-back. Giannis' Eurostep. LeBron James' IQ. Kyrie's handles. There's so many guys I could pick athleticism from; they're all athletic as hell. You could have a monstrous player. I used to do that growing up as a kid, watching everybody and trying to take pieces of their game."
"First, Giannis. His athletic ability at his size. My shooting (a little chuckle). LeBron's IQ. Steph Curry's shooting is in there, too. Durant's [total] skillset. If you had all those guys together, I think [that's] the best player ever."
"If I could create a player, it would probably be Giannis' body type, Steph's shooting, Kyrie's handle, [Nikola] Jokic's passing. That's it right there."
"You take [Durant's] or Giannis' length. Steph's shooting ability. Kyrie's handles. Kawhi's hand size and instincts on defense. LeBron's power. My dazzling great looks. I could go on for days."
"LeBron's IQ and his passing. Kyrie's handle. Giannis' length, that long step he's got to those dunks. I think that's what makes All-Star [Weekend] so special. Not one person plays like another. Everyone has a mixed set of talent, and it gets to get put on display."