The NBA has been stuck in this hiatus for almost a month now. But let’s go back a few months for just a bit. Earlier this year in January, CJ Mccollum proposed that the NBA should implement a 1v1 Tournament in All-Star Weekend. This tournament is the event that every basketball fan would be waiting for.
These best-on-best matchups would trigger another level of excitement, and it would be really entertaining to see some of the best players on the planet go up against one another. It’s never too early to speculate a competition such as this so let’s look at some intriguing must-watch matchups that would cause ripples across the NBA world.
Giannis Antetokounmpo vs Joel Embiid
A matchup for the ages. The freak of nature going up against the bigger, more sturdy player. A half-court 1v1 battle between these two players would have them pull out all their moves and tricks that they’ve kept hidden in their bag.
Joel Embiid would have the motivation and a reason to actually put in an effort and show that he is the best and most dominant center in the NBA by beating last year’s league MVP. Giannis has to show the world that he can play and dominate in a 1v1 situation against a player who is a similar size and has a similar stature. He would be given the chance to show that he can play outside of the Bucks system and win without having shooters around him that bail him out when he’s been stifled and needs to pass the ball out. Both players are similar in size and have supreme talent which would make this matchup very interesting to watch.
Steph Curry vs Trae Young
Steph Curry is arguably the best shooter to ever walk on an NBA court, having one of the highest career 3-point percentages of all-time. Trae Young is his supposed predecessor who plays a very similar style and has been lights out in the two seasons he’s been in the league. This would be a shooting contest as both players would love to show off their range and also show fans what other moves they have that makes them the better overall player.
Both players cannot play defense very well; although Steph is a very solid team defender, he’s worse when defending in 1v1 situations. Trae Young is a liability on defense due to his size, but both should be going for the win and play their hearts out to entertain the fans in a modern-NBA matchup.
Damian Lillard vs Kyrie Irving
This battle between two of the top-3 point guards in the league will help settle the debate between who is the player. Both players are phenomenal and should equally be appreciated for their talent, but it would be one of the best matchups this tournament would have to offer.
Both players have immense skill, and the matchup would show who plays better in a 1v1 situation. Kyrie probably has the best ball-handling skills in the league, has very creative ways to create his own shot, and is a very clutch player who shows up in the biggest moments. Dame also has a clutch game-winning mentality and also has one of the better handles in the league. Both players with their “Mamba Mentality” approach to the game, helps create what would be one of the most anticipated battles in the league.
Russell Westbrook vs Jimmy Butler
Both are big-game players, have fiery personalities and are the fiercest competitors on the court at all times. This matchup would bring the drama, the action, and everything else a basketball fan would be dying to see.
Russell Westbrook is the most athletic guard in the league and has dominated for years with his game-winning attitude and a nose for the basket. Jimmy Buckets is seen as a player who can play in every situation, making a name for himself as one of the 2-way players in the NBA. Tensions will get high. The drama will undoubtedly unfold. Both players would play their hearts out and battle each and every possession showing just how much hustle they both got; one of another must-see matchups.
LeBron James vs Kevin Durant vs Kawhi Leonard
These are three of the best players in the world. A matchup between any two of these players would help sports personalities on television settle their debates on who the best player in the world is. Every player brings their own unique style of play, having proven themselves at almost every level and earning every accolade achievable in top-tier basketball.
LeBron James, drafted in 2003, has been in the GOAT conversation for as long as most fans can remember. He’s been the face of the league and had been unchallenged at the top of the world for many years before both these players came along. With his supernatural athletic abilities and his all-world talent, LeBron James would be one of the toughest opponents in this competition.
Kevin Durant has to be up there among the greats, proving to be one of the greatest scorers of all-time. With his length and his superb marksmanship, Durant poses a problem to all his defenders. He plays like a guard even though he is the size of forward.
Kawhi Leonard has two Finals-MVP’s on his resume, leading two different teams to glory. He has the complete skill set, having a polished offensive game while using his reach and large hands to be a problem defensively. Kawhi has been up in the debate who is the best player in the world, but he ignores it and continues to cause problems for his opponents, playing like he’s the Terminator. A matchup between these players would have media companies living in paradise and have basketball fans around the globe salivate in anticipation as they see who comes out on top.
James Harden vs The Best Defenders in the League
James ‘The Beard’ Harden is undoubtedly the best isolation player in the world of basketball. His unusual but effective moves can beat almost anyone in the league. The rules of the tournament should change just for him as he would be able to beat anyone in a 1v1. In this scenario, the NBA would put the best defensive players in the league up against him where the other player gets a point for just getting a stop. Players like Ben Simmons, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Patrick Beverley, Jimmy Butler and Draymond Green should have the opportunity to get a stop on Harden which is a feat not many are able to accomplish.
A 1v1 tournament would bring basketball many memorable moments and the league should certainly implement it in a future All-Star Weekend which would be one of the most hyped and anticipated events in sports history.