I tested a few VMware player created vm, all hosting ubuntu, 12.04, 14.04 and 16.04. They all works smoothly in 5 years old PC, embarrassed to mention its specs. The confusing fact is that none of them works well in a new alienware 15R3 laptop, 16GB memory, SSD, Nvidia 1070 graphic card. Even a text editor needs wait time of a few second to tens of seconds to refresh the view.
Linux tool update has been conducted in the vm running in the new laptop. Before than after the update, no difference. This upgrade was not conducted in the old desktop and it runs smoothly.
8GB RAM allocation in the new laptop, 2 GB is more than enough, which has tested in the old desktop.
Disk defragmentation in windows has been conducted.
The VM ware player data file is one big file instead of spreading into multiple smaller files.
The VM ware player data file is stored in SSD drive.
Welcome to the Community,
only a guess. did you try to exclude *.vm* files from being scanned by A/V? On-Access scanning of the .vmdk file may cause performance impacts.