NBA fans have long wanted to see a one-on-one tournament of some kind during All-Star Weekend. HORSE ended up becoming a reality, so a one-on-one tournament might at some point in the future. It’s unlikely that the matchups everyone wants to see will happen, like Kobe-LeBron, CP3-Deron, Carmelo/Durant, or KG/Zaza. However, if the NBA uses the one-on-one contest like it uses the dunk contest, to showcase the talents of rising stars, there are still some great matchups.
Here are some of my ideas, revolving around players with similar skill-sets, battles between young guns, and of course PRIDE-style freak show matches:
Brandon Jennings vs. Jamaal Crawford
Lots of sweet crossovers, plenty of long jumpers off the dribble, not a lot of defense, and some great back-and-forth. This one would be a doozy.
JJ Redick vs. Adam Morrison
Years in the making. Redick’s quietly become a solid player this season, but how would he fare against NBA champion Morrison? Redick plays defense and has a better all-around game, but Morrison can score the ball, and his moves would be suited to a one-on-one match. Also, I’d look forward to JJ trash-talking Ammo in poem form.
Gerald Wallace vs. Josh Smith
An obvious choice, but still needed. When they meet at the rim, the universe may collapse upon itself.
Tyreke Evans vs. Danilo Gallinari
Evans is a guard with freakish strength who dominates in the paint. Gallinari has the size of a power forward but does his damage with a sweet three-point stroke. Would Gallo’s size allow him to keep Evans out of the paint and shoot over him, or would Evans’ strength allow him to push aside Gallo and keep him from getting the looks he wants offensively?
James Posey vs. Derek Fisher
Steph Curry vs. Jameer Nelson
After Curry’s explosion against the Clippers and Brandon Jennings’ 55-point game against the Warriors early in the season, it’s become clear that the ultimate rookie performance would happen if Steph Curry was somehow able to play with Steph Curry guarding him. Sadly, that’s impossible, but Nelson’s game and build are fairly similar. Nelson’s a better defender than Curry, but he’s no Alvin Robertson either.
Rasheed Wallace vs. Nate Robinson
I would much rather see this than have Nate do another dunk contest. I think he’d win, which would mean maximum possible embarrassment for Rasheed. Sold.
Rajon Rondo vs. Russell Westbrook
Another choice based only on sheer awesomeness.
Joakim Noah vs. Anderson Varejao
This would be the most exciting and boring game of one-on-one ever played all at once.
Well, there are my choices, but there are certainly many, many more great possible matchups out there. What are some of the matchups you’d like to see if a one-on-one contest ever becomes a reality?