Featured Gallery, NBA / Oct 14, 2010 / 2:15 pm

5 Must-See NBA 1-on-1 Matchups

Chris Paul (photo. Zach Wolfe)

After Kobe publicly launched his bold statement that he could beat LeBron in a 1-on-1 matchup in his sleep, it was only a matter of time until it got the web talking.

Earlier this week, ESPN’s Rick Reilly interviewed a litany of basketball figures, from players all the way to the owners, about who they thought would win 1-on-1 between the top two players in the world. Former Knicks and Rockets head coach Jeff Van Gundy suggested that the NBA toss out all of the other activities during All-Star Weekend and just concentrate on adding 1-on-1 to the lineup. It wouldn’t be too crazy. Back in 1972, Jo Jo White and Bob Lanier played head-to-head on national TV in a game to 20 where you had to win by four, baskets counted as two, and there were no free throws until a fourth foul was committed.

Going by that same format, only going to 21, here are my top five matchups of active NBA players:

Chauncey Billups vs. Steve Nash — In the recent 2010-11 GM Survey, both Nash (32.1%) and Billups (17.9%) were voted as the two best leaders in the NBA. As far as clutch situations, they both finished in the Top 10 in “clutch time” scoring last year according to 82games.com. Nash scored 43.6 points per 48 minutes of clutch time, while Billups put up 37.7 points. But in a game of 21, this matchup will be determined by Mr. Big Shot’s defense. Billups is a two-time All-Defensive Team honoree. As for Nash, it’s not that he doesn’t believe in defense, it’s just that he isn’t good at it. Billups’ stocky frame (202 pounds) and developed post game for a PG would allow him to manhandle Nash’s frail frame (178 lbs) and gives him flashbacks of Robert Horry sending him into the announcer’s table.

Chris Paul vs. Deron Williams — These two are always going to be compared to each other until they stop picking up a basketball. While both guards scored the same amount of points last season (18.7 ppg), Paul takes smarter shots and is less turnover-prone due to the fact that the Hornets don’t play in an up-tempo system. In the half court, Williams can easily take Paul in a game of 21. Although Paul is a better outside shooter, D-Will has the size (6-3) and weight advantage (207 lbs) compared to CP3 (175). Many believe that CP3 is a stout defender, but the reality is that their Defensive Rating is rather similar (105.2 to D-Will’s 106.4) and D-Will has the advantage since he’s able to defend against the NBA’s premier shooting guards.

LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant — With Durant stating that he wants to be an elite defender and bang in the paint against the bigs, well, here’s his chance. Not only does LeBron have at least 20 pounds on him, but also his strength is much too much for Durant to compete with. Some might say that LeBron’s defense is overrated, but with his Defensive Warp sitting at 25.3, that’s hardly the case. Although ‘Bron doesn’t often play in the post, I’m sure he will take the opportunity to do so against Durant. There’s no doubt that he’s been working on his defense (103.6), and if Durant’s shots are falling, he has a definite chance at beating James. But with LBJ’s size and speed advantage, I don’t see KD winning this one.

Kobe Bryant vs. Dwyane Wade — The two best shooting guards in the world going 1-on-1 is a matchup everyone would want to see. Aside from both being lights-out in the clutch — Bryant scored 51.2 points per 48 minutes with the game on the line last season — they also play with an assassin’s mentality, which is to defeat you in any way possible. Kobe does have a two-inch height advantage, but Wade has the speed and weight advantage (15 lbs heavier than Mamba). Kobe likes to play in the post, which means Wade’s defense is going to have to be on-point. If Kobe fails to stop Wade from attacking the basket then the game is over, but if Kobe uses his fundamentals and hits outside shots, the Mamba takes the crown. All in all, this one is really a toss-up.

Carmelo Anthony vs. LeBron James — You think LeBron is hard to stop going to the basket? They don’t call Carmelo “The Bully” for nothing, and just imagine if his game revolved around attacking the basket. The fact of the matter is this: ‘Melo is better offensively than ‘Bron. He has a wide variety of offensive moves, he loves to play in the post, and his outside shot is nearly unguardable. ‘Melo has the size to compete with James the entire time, and everyone knows Anthony not only steps up offensively, but defensively as well when the competition is greater. They’ve played against one another for over a decade going back to high school, and ‘Melo is 10-4 against LeBron head-to-head in the NBA. We’ve already seen them go at full force last season, and while James filled up the stat sheet, Carmelo got the W and the game-winning shot. I expect the same in a game of 21.

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  • Hucklebuck

    Chris Paul IS NOT a better shooter than Deron.
    NO WAY.

  • Joe’s Momma

    Bynum vs Oden

    Too bad one of them would get hurt during the “shoot for takout” at the beginning.

    I would love to see R. Westbrook vs D. Rose

    Maybe Gay vs Granger would be full of offense

    Monte Ellis vs Ben Gordon, neither play any defense so win by two would take a few days.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ Joe’s Momma

    I would love to see Oden and Bynum go 1-on-1, unfortunately, you’re right about them probably getting injured lol.

  • arjae828

    did you say that Chris Paul is a better shooter than D.Williams?! Erroneous ! I had to stop reading after that. You’ve just lost all credibility. Gotta see Stuckey vs. Bynum for the starting job though.

  • Kevin

    I completely agree with 1 and 4, Paul is definately not a better shooter than DWill.

    This is a fun article tho, and I could definately see the NBA doing this during all star weekend. Why not?

    How about Lebron vs Kobe since that’s what started it?

    Rondo vs Wall

    Blake Griffin vs Amare

  • Billy3343

    How bout Iguodala vs. Gerald Wallace
    no jumpshots just two athletes trying to jump over eachother

  • .

    no Rondo vs. Rose? GTFO….those two are gonna kill each other this season

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    Where did I say that he’s a better shooter than D-Will? I said he takes smarter shots and CP3 actually had a better three-point percentage last season. But nowhere did I say that he was a better shooter. Read .. very .. slowly

  • WR

    Andrew, are you insane!?

    How about that piece of shit: “Although Paul is a better outside shooter, ..”

    Maybe you should actually write .. very .. slowly.
    Maybe you should just stop writing.

  • Mario
  • i am a witness

    “Although Paul is a better outside shooter”, thats what you said andrew!!!

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ i am a witness

    I just believe I gave my reasoning for that statement. And be honest, how many times have you watched Chris Paul on TV or in real life? Paul is a not a bad shooter, but he does take the smarter shots.

  • KL


    Elite players will never volunteer for this if the opportunity presented itself. Too many ego where they’d have more to lose than to gain. Exact same reason why Bron will never enter a dunk contest, albiet, he should have entered last year…his rare chance to win it.

    Anyway, if it were to happen, expect it to be filled with tier 2 allstars.

    @Andrew…..likely a typo on your part, but yes, you did say right after ‘smarter shots’, that CP was a better shooter.

  • S.A.C

    You did say “Paul is the better outside shooter” Andrew.

    But good write up. I don’t think I read the first one at the top.

  • Alex Robocop Murphy

    Darko vs. Kwame

    Eddy Curry vs. Jerome James

    Vujavic vs. Dragic

    AI vs. Starbury (in China!)

    Ben Gordon vs. Nate Robinson

    Stephen Jackson vs. Ron Artest

  • Jah

    Amare Stoudemire vs. Chris Bosh

    Kevin Garnett vs. Tim Duncan

    (Gilbert loses)

    Brandon Jennings vs. Stephen Curry
    (Young Money)

  • http://www.TheProductBand.com Kermit The Washington

    “Hey Kobe, if the Lakers were to trade you, where would you want to play?”

    Kobe: I dunno, man…I mean, I’ll play on PLUTO if I have to!”


    “Hey Kobe, who would win in a one-on-one with Lebron?”

    Kobe: Me. One on one is what I do. Bron is a great overall player who passes and sees the floor, but one-on-one is what I do in my sleep”


    I’m so glad I’m not a celebrity, gettin’ my words all twisted up and thrown back in my face all the time hahaha

  • Mr. TKO

    I would love to see Melo school Lebron so that people can finally appreciate how deadly Melo is.

    I think Lebron and Kobe would be a good match so that people could see that all that strength and speed don’t mean much when you’re not in the open court. Normally Lebron would win against a Kobe sized person, but he’s more athletically talented than Offensively talented and a matchup against Kobe would show that.

    Kobe and Dwade, as much as I like Kobe, I think that Dwade would win this one, he’s as athletic as Lebron but he’s better offensively or maybe I should say his fundamentals are a lil bit better.

    I’d also like to see Melo and Durant go at it they have had some great battles, I’m not sure who’d win, KD is damn near 7ft(Watch Team USA and look at him standing next to Chandler) but Melo is a underrated beast.

    I can’t imagine a (Healthy)Bynum and Oden in a one on one game despite the jokes, two big men ain’t the most fun (Flashbacks to videogame days)

    Dwill and CP3 seems like it would be boring cuz Dwill would massacre him, but I could be wrong.

    I think Josh Smith vs Broy/Iguodola would be a good one to watch.

    I gotta agree with Robocop with BG and KrytoNate as well as Watching Vujacic vs Dragic. (Could Sasha stop worrying about his hair long enough to show why he should have started over the summer in Serbia?)

    Westbrook and Drose would be good as hell, (ya’ll better watch out, Westbrook is gonna be a problem not too far in the future)

    Rondo vs somebody would be good, but I can’t think of somebody he would match up with well.

  • Shot In Your Face

    Can we see a Dime writer matchup?

    Who’s a bigger fucking idiot? Andrew or Austin?

  • Mr. H

    I love CP3, but he’s not a better outside shooter than DWill. It’s just not true. Everybody is wrong sometimes, this time Andrew, you were wrong

  • http://www.TheProductBand.com Kermit The Washington

    “Gilbert Arenas vs. COMMON SENSE & SOBER JUDGEMENT
    (Gilbert loses)” HA! Awesome

  • Dayo

    Funny, looking through nba.com, Chris Paul did have a better shooting percentage than Deron Williams did last season from the three point line, and overall. Pretty surprising to learn that. I always felt Deron Williams was a better shooter.

  • http://yourboychise.blogspot.com/ Chise

    I don’t care about the numbers.. watch them play D-Will can shoot the orange off the basketball.

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ Jah

    I’d really like to see Jennings and Curry as well.

  • sh!tfaced

    Brian Scalabrine vs Adam Morrison

    Jarron vs Jason (Collins)

    Eddy Curry vs Jerome James

    Shaq vs Nate Robinson & Earl Boykins

    Yao vs Oden vs Bynum (triple threat)

  • Mtx

    Beasley(Poor man’s Carmelo) vs Iguodala (Poor man’s Lebron)

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ Dime fans

    Which teams do you think have the best benches?


    Gonna go with the obvious, Lakers, Boston, Orlando

  • Stunnaboy09

    I’m gonna go with the Suns, Dragic, Childress, Dudley, Warrick and Frye may appear as good on paper but they have amazing chemistry and work well together and each of them brings something good to the table. One of the few benches that actually all play together at the same time without needing a starter.

  • http://slamonline.com tealish

    @ The author of this piece:
    You did not just write Chris Paul is a better outside shooter than Deron Williams.
    I know you didn’t.
    I will get my eyes checked asap.

  • Stunnaboy09

    Chris Paul 2010 stats 1.2 3PM 2.8 3PA for 41%
    Deron Williams 2010 stats 1.3 3PM 3.4 3PA for 37%

    Is it so preposterous to say that last year, where CP3 had a career year from deep, he was a better shooter from outside than D-Will. It’s not like we are comparing Rondo and Nash here…

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ Tealish

    Your eyes are fine.

    Chris Paul 3PT Percentage:
    28.3 percent
    35.0 percent
    37.0 percent
    36.4 percent
    40.9 percent

    Deron Williams 3PT Percentage:
    41.6 percent
    32.3 percent
    39.5 percent
    31.0 percent
    37.1 percent

    You tell me.

  • Sporty-j

    Carmelo vs Lebron is the only 1 thats hard to pick. The rest are easy. Billups, Williams, Wade, and Lebron. I would pay to see Bosh vs Amare and Beasley vs Blake Griffin. WestBrook would dog no defense playing. Dirk vs Gasol would be a nice 1 also.

  • Sporty-j


  • Yucca Man

    Laghed out loud at “Many believe CP3 is a stout defender”

    Gambling in passing lanes to get a lot of steals doesn’t make a guy a stout defender. High comedy.

    And anyone who thinks Paul vs. Deron is a good matchup has never watched Hornets and Jazz play each other. D-Will owns Paul head-to-head. It’s not even close.

    Yet another hopelessly absurd, hopelessly un-researched collection of random opinions posted on DIME.

  • GM

    Andrew Macaluso…


    First you INSULT your readers
    “Where did I say that he’s a better shooter than D-Will? I said he takes smarter shots and CP3 actually had a better three-point percentage last season. But nowhere did I say that he was a better shooter. Read .. very .. slowly”

    Then when they point out that you actually DID SAY THAT, you wont even own up to it!

    I’m not arguing with the whole CP is a better shooter than DW thing, i actually agree with you on this one.

    BUT PLEASE, if readers call u out on something you said, the least you can do is defend your statement with proper reasoning and NOT INSULT them.. And if you make a mistake or miss something, please own up to it..

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ Yucca Man

    Obviously people do since he’s been voted to an All-Defensive First and Second Team but that doesn’t mean that I’m one of them. It doesn’t matter if it’s a good matchup or not, it’s a matchup that A LOT of fans – especially the younger ones – would want to see.

  • GM

    by the way, in my opinion, Chauncey Billups vs Steve Nash would be pointless, and i dont think neither of them would be willing to do it because:

    1. they’re both old
    2. i think steve nash’s reputation as a poor 1on1 defender is undeserving because i think its his reaction and ability to adapt to the other players on the floor thats poor
    3. Steve Nash would probably just repeatedly throw a behind the back pass to Chauncey for 3. cause he’s very generous that way.

  • GM


    Love the ideas man!

    Jerome James vs Eddy Curry
    – They should ask Gerald Green to put a cupcake on the ring just to make it at least competitive

    Yao vs Oden vs Bynum (triple threat)
    – Should they do this on wheelchairs? if so, Paul Pierce should make it a 4-way

  • Stef
  • JD

    Bosh VS Shaq – anyone?? :)

  • KB8toSG8

    D-Will, Nash ( as much as I love Billups, Nash picks his spots and is deadly from there. See a few games if you wanna understand better.), KB ( As athletic and quick D-Wade is, posting up doesn’t need athleticism, it needs footwork and strength. KB has both), LeBron (vs Durant) and Melo (vs LeBron)

  • KB8toSG8

    1-on-1s I’d love to see:

    T-reke vs Flash (speed, cross-overs, ankle breaking, dunks. What else do you want? :D )

    Durant vs Melo ( Kickass offense. Mediocre defense. Perfect for All-Star games.)

    Rose vs Rondo ( see Reke vs Flash )

    D12 vs Shaq ( One match. Winner takes the title of Superman.)

    KB vs LeBron ( Seriously, who doesn’t want to see this?)

    KG vs Pau ( Thuggery :P Physical vs Finesse )

  • http://www.dimemag.com Andrew Macaluso

    @ GM

    The Billups/Nash matchup is one that I’d be interested to see. There has to be some kind of veteran matchup.

  • Ian

    44 posts about the paul better shooter thing. shit people

  • Rick James

    Nash over Billups EASILLY!! (Nash used to go 1 on 1 with Dirk all time and regulary give Dirk L;S)

    Lebron easily over K-Smooth

    Kobe beats D-Wade 75% of the Time

    Carmelo schools Lebron

    Deron has a better jumper than CP3; CP3 shoots less often and jump shot isn’t respect by his peers as much as Deron’s. Men Lie, Women Lie, and Numbers Do as Well!!!!!

    Matchups i wanna see are

    Rose vs. Rondo- First person to hit 3 jumpers wins!!!

    Jamal Crawford vs. J.R. Smith- First to 50

    Nick Young vs. Stephen Curry- Don’t sleep on Nick Young

    and finally T-Mac and Vince Carter vs. The Black Mamba!!

  • Borgs

    Some research to educate the article’s author…