Dime 1-on-1 NBA Tournament, NBA / Jul 12, 2011 / 11:00 am

Dime’s 1-On-1 NBA Tournament: Carmelo Anthony Vs. Dirk Nowitzki

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony, Dime #25


*You can still vote for the Kevin Durant/Dwyane Wade matchup until 2 P.M. EST today.*

One quietly re-signed with his original team. One ensnared the entire NBA in gossip-filled trade speculation. One fades away, pulls up and does whatever it takes to create separation. One thrives on contact, absorbing its reverberation and eventually casting it aside. Both have the late-game pedigree. Both have arguably unstoppable offensive repertoires. Both are built for one-on-one.

This game will come down to stops. When Dallas won the NBA title, we praised Dirk‘s renewed commitment to defense. But let’s be honest with ourselves: Dirk is a below average defender. He’s not physical, he can’t jump and he’s not exactly fast. Melo‘s no Bruce Bowen either. Too often he allows his inner Baron Davis to guide his defensive mojo.

Maybe, then, it’s just a question of heart. Who’s willing to slap the floor, pull up their shorts and get into that awkward and uncomfortable defensive stance that every high school coach in America forces down his team’s throat? Who’s putting a hand up on the close out? Who’s chasing down stray rebounds? At a glance, this isn’t even a question. It’s like asking whether Mikhail Prokhorov will singlehandedly bring down the United States’ economy if Deron Williams gets hurt in Turkey.

But Melo has an on/off button that muddles the equation. When it’s on, see Game 2 against Boston in the first round of this year’s playoffs. When it’s off, see “I’m going to ignore my incredible strength and ability to finish at the rim and fire threes Mike D’Antoni-style.” When it’s on, Melo imposes his physical will on lesser specimens. When it’s off, it’s Mike D’Antoni defense time.

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki (photo. Nike Basketball)

Dirk is prideful. He may be quiet and unassuming, but there’s no doubt that his championship joy was exponentially compounded by shutting down Miami’s dynastic plans. When he takes the floor against Melo, he’ll have that extra edge. The Denver deserter is trying to pull a Miami part two, and Dirk will have none of that.

But Melo’s a man of pride as well. There’s a part of him that detests his secondary class status among NBA stars. There’s a part of him that loathes the notion that he and Amar’e can’t form a better, more successful Eastern Conference powerhouse. We saw that other side against Boston, the side that permits us to dream of what could be.

In a battle of wills, I’m taking Dirk every time. I’m betting my life savings on him. I’m sitting courtside, champagne in hand and lit cigar in the mouth. But Melo’s an anomaly in every way because his flashes of dominance are unrivaled. Five straight minutes of Melo at the top of his game is more compelling, convincing and dominating than any other NBA player, period. But can he sustain it throughout an 11-point game?

*also vote for KD vs. D-Wade*

1-on-1 Tournament Bracket

updated bracket w/ included equivalent scores (based on voting %)

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  • http://theswamp.wordpress.com Andrew Macaluso

    My favorite player of all-time, ‘Melo, every time.

  • King

    All you have to do is ask yourselves this. If you had to bet money on it, who do you think would get more stops on the other.

    Melo easily

  • Nike Summer

    This is a tough one. But I’d have to go with Melo. He can score anytime he wants and arguably the best 1-on-1 basketball player in the world right now. Even though Dirk has the height advantage, Melo has the body and can physically bully Dirk in the post. On an Nba game, Dirk would destroy Melo in the post with so many fakes he could pull off. But since this is a 1-on-1 game with no one around to pull off fake passes, Dirk has to rely on his jumpshot which is very risky.

  • JAY

    Tough one.
    I go with Melo because I think he’s still trying to prove himself and a game of one-on-one is right up his alley…
    and I believe Dirk is still partying and doesn’t really give a damn about this 1-on-1 shit. He’ll get to the gym finishing a Big Mac with some mayonnaise still on his shirt.


    …. What JAY said.
    you know this is Melo’s kinda thing. while Dirk is busy working on silly things like team chemistry, buying into offensive plays and winning championships. Melo is busy working on being the best 1 on 1 player in the NBA.

  • JAY

    ^^^ Can I cosign a cosign?

  • Celts Fan

    Melo wins this. this would be a GREAT game, but both are big shooters that can get to the rim, but rely on the mid-range mostly. In that case, I’ll take the more fluid athlete who’ll have an easier time getting by his guy and an easier time playing D. With his height, he’s got enough length to come as close to bothering Dirk’s rainbow, “how the hell did that go in?” jumper as anyone. Melo, 12-10.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    I normally just vote and keep going on these things, but I just had to interject on this one.

    Dirk’s D gets a bad rap. Ok, I get it.

    But when has Melo EVER been known as a good defender? He’s “clutch”, he can score from everywhere, he gets to the line, he can shoot, he can’t defend, and he needs to rebound more for his size. They sound like the same player.

    Only Dirk is a BETTER offensive player. That’s right. He’s always shot better from everywhere on the court. The ONLY area Carmelo can bust Dirk is getting foul calls, which won’t be an issue here.

    Dirk would grab the rebounds from the rare misses, and Melo can’t even TOUCH Dirk’s shot.

    Melo would only score on drives, and even then Dirk’s height would bother the shots. Dirk would shoot over Melo like you shoot over your little brother in the driveway.

    Dirk 11-6

  • ctkennedy

    I got Melo only cuz his countermoves he does off the dribble …Nearly all of Dirk moves r based off the triple threat which work great from 15-18 feet ..alright from 23 9 for him

  • First & Foremost

    Another one bites the dust. 11-8 Melo. I think Melo will come out and just jab step him to death. If there is a loose ball I think Melo could crab walk and still beat dirk to the ball. So the rare misses that do happen will lead to Dirk getting dunked on Melo v. Millsap style.

    A few possessions of Dirk getting muscled and taking a shoulder to the chin, Dirk will settle for pull ups and awkward runners. By that time those two would just be trading baskets.

    It will be a close game but not really.

  • Spydermaan

    Dagwaller, I’m sorry bro but you are fucking retarded, MELO don’t play no d is also given a bad rap and that’s even bigger cos of my NY media cohorts, now listen hard, game 2 against Boston, MELO had 42 pts, 17 fucking rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and a block. You telling me he can’t play d, YES HE CAN oh and I’m not even gonna talk about his offense cos other than Kobe, Melo has the best offensive skill set in the game, mid, post, long ball and drive. Now to the beloved Dirk, don’t know what to say, but he’s got and unstoppable shot and a good drive to the basket, however he is also slow and not a great rebounder. Don’t even say he gon get rare misses, MELO get one of the best second jumps in the league for offensive rebounds and putbacks. And my last point , Carmelo Anthony lives on the clutch gene, he’s got 16 game winners in his career, second is KB24 with 15 so please I say this is gonna be close but MELO closes it out at the end.

  • Duncanrules

    I think the Melo guys are right, neither one is really going to stop each other, buckets will fucking rain, but Melo would be more likely to get a stop before Dirk. That being said it will be extremely close.

  • ash

    who’s jumper is better. who do you take to win the game? who do you know can come back from 15 pts, 17 pts, 16 pts in the last 8 Minutes of the 4th quarter.

    sorry, im takin dirk. dirk and melo are equally bad on D.

    Dirk is a better offensive player. If haslem, bosh, james, wade cant stop dirk, melo aint stoppin dirk. dirk cant stop melo either, but he can sit back and let melo take jumpers.

    i bet dirk makes more jumpers than melo. their shooting percantages say that.

    plus dirk got more heart. he showed it this year.

  • WR

    Dagwaller, you nailed it. Nothing more to say. Dirk wins more often than not.

  • JAY

    You gotta love the people who jump headfirst into convos and the first thing typed is an insult. Lol!

  • ctkennedy

    Dirk aint the bad on D…hes a legit help defender …in one on one coverage he doesnt get killed like that n he rebounds his position 8-10 boards a game…his numbers was down alittle this yr cuz of marion n chandler ..he not fluid enuff to rebound out his area..but he grab those near him ..uses his length to contest shots he still 7ft

  • dapro

    Damn this is a tough one, I’m trying to remove my Melo bias and be objective so…

    I’m taking Melo for the simple fact that if it comes down to who can stop the other player for one possession

    Buckets will rain in this matchup, but Melo can lock in and give Dirk more trouble on D given a missed shot

    To the brotha who said Melo needs to rebound better….He’s the best boarding SF in the league, he gets contested in-traffic rebounds and offensive put backs with the best of them

  • control

    Dirk…the guy’s defense isn’t as bad as people think, and his shot is pretty much unstoppable. Melo is pretty quick, but not quick enough to completely destroy Dirk with speed, so it would come down to them both jacking shots. Dirk is the best mid range shooter in the tournament right now, and he can get it off on anyone, while Melo might run into a problem or two with Dirk’s height.

    Plus, at this stage of the lockout, who doesn’t think Melo is fat as fuck right now?

  • First & Foremost

    Why do people throw out rebounding as proof someone can play defense? David Lee gets double digit boards and people shit on his defense all day. Kevin Love gets rebounds and people say, “well he chooses rebounding position rather than contesting the shot.” I guess those people were taught by not putting a hand in the shooters face, you can just assume he will miss the shot so be prepared to get the rebound. However, Dirk grabs 9 boards and that somehow solidifies him as an average defender.

    Look at what he does in ANY PnR situation. Look at how he is always a step or two late on rotations. Melo plays bad D due to lack of effort. Dirk plays bad defense due to lack of physical ability.

    Melo wins this because there aren’t any refs. Dirk will get roughed up from 23 feet all the way to the basket. Haslem & Joel are better defenders than Melo but they were playing with their hands behind their backs.

    Melo goes up early, and then they just trade baskets.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    @ JAY – I was going to say the same thing! I started to read spyder’s post but realized that he couldn’t even write, let alone form a coherent thought, so I skipped it.

    I’m not saying that rebounding is part of defense (even though it is). I’m saying that putting up better rebounding #s makes you a better defender. I’m saying that if/when one of these guys misses, the one that can go get it is going to win. NEITHER of them is going to miss very often. Melo will get by Dirk, and Dirk will shoot over Melo.

    Yea, Melo might fake drive and pull up. Sure, Dirk might pump fake and run by Melo. Neither of them is going to lock down. But WHEN there’s a miss, Dirk’s height and superior rebounding (8.4 career vs. 6.3 for Melo) are going to be important.

    @ dapro – Melo, best boarding SF in the League? Ever heard of LeBron James? Cmon brotha

  • dapro

    Yeah I heard of LBJ chief, but re-read my argument for why Melo is the better rebounder- in traffic rebounds and second chance rebounds my man. As physically gifted as Bron is, he’s not physically imposing. That’s why Melo seems to body him when going head to head

    Bron is many things great but he like Dwight Howard are number players, meaning many of thier stats are inflated (they know how to pad numbers)

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    @ dapro – I don’t know. There are a lot of things watching the game vs. looking at numbers can tell us, you’re right. LeBron certainly can be a stat padder. Then again, I don’t see Melo as being the type to let his PG grab the board instead of snatching it off the glass.

    …and if he is that guy, no wonder his teams haven’t gotten too far in the playoffs…

    I don’t want to make this about LeBron vs. Melo. But I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone that would say Melo rebounds better than LeBron. And neither of them have the career rebounding #s that Dirk does.

  • downtown_brownclown

    Melo Anthony! All Day Baby!

  • ctkennedy

    reboundin is a part of defense …the play aint over until u get the ball back period…Dirk dont be late like that or none of that shit…nobody murders him but the elites …Melo will get fried by alright mfs around the league…Dirk dont

  • First & Foremost

    @dag – Lets say Dirk contests a Melo jumper from th right wing and the ball bounces off the rim and ends up on the left wing. Are you saying in this type of setting Dirk will beat Melo to the ball?

    In no way can Dirk plant his foot and hustle to get that type of rebound. He just doesn’t have the foot speed and his height would only be a factor if he laid out. He doesn’t have the handles to keep that dribble alive without it being stolen.

    Now even if they both got to the ball and were fighting over it. If and When Melo wins that battle, NO WAY IN HELL, does dirk possess the ability to change directions and beat Melo to the rim. All long rebounds are Melo’s, “if he plays hard” [I tried so hard to not use that phrase but I can’t get around it]. The only rebounds Dirk has a chance of are wild misses at the rim that he can tap to himself.

    I don’t even know how Dirk got past Manu. 1 on 1 any and everyone can beat Dirk to every loose ball. He just doesn’t have the functional mobility for his rebounding numbers to even matter.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    @F/F – if it were a race to a line, 16 feet away (the distance in your scenario), and Dirk had a 5 foot headstart, then yea, Dirk would win that race haha. Factor in that the ball won’t hit the rim, bounce to the floor then immediately stop there. It usually stays up high long enough for someone 7 feet tall to run 2 steps and jump to get to. It’s only been a month since the NBA stopped playing, how did ya’ll forget that? Haha

    It’s not like Melo hasn’t had the tools we’re discussing his entire career, and STILL is 4 boards short of Dirk’s career averages. If Melo is this crazy good rebounding player all of a sudden, why is it that his numbers don’t reflect that?

    Anyway, I’m just giving Dirk the EDGE in this battle because he EDGES OUT Melo in rebounding. Neither plays very good defense, both are nigh unstoppable on offense. Dirk just happens to be taller, which usually leads to better rebounding (and does so in this case).

  • ctkennedy

    @first dirk aint that bad a athlete…he box out he will beat melo to the ball all day long

  • LakeShow84

    Melo would win while getting 15 offensive rebounds..

    Dirk could possibly stop him a few times but Melo is too strong and quick in the post..

  • ctkennedy

    i got melo winnin the game …cuz Dirk moves work outta the triple threat work 10 times better at 17 ft than 24ft ..assumin u got to check the ball up at the top of th key

  • Knicksfan84

    If your life was on the line and this would be the difference between owning a country or living in the projects…. I’m picking Melo PERIOD.

  • First & Foremost

    Wait a minute, either Dirk is using his length to contest the shot or turning and chasing the possible rebound. No way is he athletic enough to do both and succeed if the ball bounces away.

    All I’m saying is that Melo will be quicker to all loose balls.

    Either Dirk makes every shot or all rebounds bounce off the rim and hit him in the chest. You say Dirk EDGES him out in rebounding but imagine them doing rebounding drills. Who wins. Who says Dirk boxes out? Show me one time in which he boxed out Joel Anthony in the finals, other than a free throw. “The Mavs need to do a better job rebounding, they are getting out hustled by Joel Anthony!!!” says JVG.

    Advantage Melo for being just as difficult to guard but can and will out hustle Dirk.

  • http://twitter.com/#!/Quiznakes K Dizzle

    15-14 on a tossup cuz none of these two gettin stops vs. each other…

  • bigdoggchad

    LeBron who is a two time all-defense first team can’t slow down or keep him from getting to the rim. How is dirk going to do it? Melo never sees single coverage imagine how easy it will be for him to score. Dirk doesn’t see as many double or even triple team as melo. Melo will get easier looks but if dirk gets hot he might be able to pull an upset. Melo 9 times out of 10.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    @ F/F – Dirk’s playoff rebounding numbers are higher than Melo’s, too. You keep saying he gets more rebounds than Dirk, and yet…it’s not like Dirk’s brother works as the NBA official stat keeper.

    Or maybe you’re saying that all of Dirk’s rebounds are easy, and Melo’s are all the hard ones. Sure, sure…

    Before the tourney started, I saw Melo going farther than Dirk. But this matchup? Honestly? Dirk shoots better, rebounds better, and defensively, they’re a wash. Don’t really see how Melo would win.

    Like I said, Dirk, 11-6.

  • cdubb

    Dirk, hands down, thats an easy one.

  • cdubb

    Dirk, all day. thats an easy one. This guy averages 25 and 10 in the POSTSEASON and did some serious damage to some of the greatest defenders not only in the 2011 playoffs, but also in the last couple of years. This is a top 20 player of all time against a really good NBA-player. Defensively, I don’t see Melo get a stop before Dirk. Dirk is 7ft tall, which is bothering every opponent who likes to shoot alot from the mid-range. And his defense is at least ok, which you obviously see by rewatching the DAL-LAL series.

    Melo is a really nice clutch player with a superb mid-range jumper. But I don’t see him contain Dirk’s shot or drive in any situation. If Dirk gets it going, he will murder Anthony.

    Dirk 11-6, period.

  • First & Foremost

    You guys are looking at the setting in which this tournament is played. Contact is allowed. Melo doesn’t have to give Dirk any airspace. He can be muscled regardless of how tall Dirk is. We can all agree that the NBA rules favor the offensive player. We can all also agree that this tournament isn’t played by NBA rules.

    Dirk cannot put the ball on the floor and attack the basket. The defender can hold his ground and make him fight for every inch. There won’t be any 1-2 step flail arms BS followed by free throws. Melo will do a better job of defending Dirk by the rules that were laid out in the opening article.

    Melo being stronger and faster, he doesn’t have to worry about Dirk driving past him. That one legged fadeaway will be a “hassle” to guard and vs Dirk you live with that. On the flipside, Melo from 23 feet out, Melo’s jab step will give him all the space he needs to operate. Dirk playing 1 on 1 defense that far away from the basket will bite on every fake because he doesn’t have the footspeed to stay in front of Melo. Dirk will be put on skates every time.

    Dirk is wonderful in a league where guys can’t touch you. We saw what happens when player play swarming defense. (GS State) Melo can afford to play so close to Dirk that it will be considered sexual assault in most states.

  • JAY

    @ dag… “I was going to say the same thing! I started to read spyder’s post but realized that he couldn’t even write, let alone form a coherent thought, so I skipped it.”

    You went further than I did. Lol. I stopped reading after the “you’re a fuckin idiot” part. To me, immediately insulting someone takes away from the point that the poster is trying to make. When I insult someone at least I save it to the end of the post. There’s a formula to insulting…. first you make your point, then you tell the person why you disagree… THEN you insult. It’s an art.

  • JAY

    @ F&F: “You guys are looking at the setting in which this tournament is played. Contact is allowed. Melo doesn’t have to give Dirk any airspace. He can be muscled regardless of how tall Dirk is. We can all agree that the NBA rules favor the offensive player. We can all also agree that this tournament isn’t played by NBA rules.”

    ^^^ Thank you for this F&F!! I’ve been trying to tell this to people since the first day DIME began this ‘tournament’. Some guys, I’m not saying anybody in this thread, but I’ve ran into some posters in other matchups who can’t get in their heads that this is not the league. You can’t make your selections saying, “Well, this past year player x dominated, so player x will probably win this matchup.”… the league and these rules are polar opposites. If played out in real life, this tournament would be physical as fuck. Haven’t you guys ever played or been to a King of the Cage tournament (or whatever they call it in your city). They KILL eachother. Sure they can call their own fouls but don’t get it twisted… these guys will be laying eachother out. Melo LOVES the contact, he thrives in physical play. Can anybody here say Dirk does also? He’s gotten better handling the banging but thats still not his game. It’s a different setting folks. Dirk will be bullied.

    Earlier some dude, i forget who, was trying to tell me the handcheck won’t make that much of a difference. LMAO! Fuck that. The handcheck changes everything. Not only does it slow guys down, but it gives the defender a hint of where the offensive player is going. It gave defenders an advantage pre-1990s and THEY had refs. These guys don’t. Players will get hip bruises from all the handchecks in this scenario.
    In the league, sweeping through a defender’s outstretched arm will work in the league. It doesn’t do shit here.
    In the league, quick, small point guards can slice through lane without getting touched, get to the hole and finish… Here, they will get bumped every single drive, all the way to the hole, and will get put on their ass if they get close enough to try a layup. and if he calls a foul, they check it up top. Nothing else. No free-throws. No foul outs.
    I hope some people are starting to get the point.

  • First & Foremost

    @Jay – It was me who said handchecking won’t work to the degree you envision… depending on the matchup. Dirk being as slow as he is, he can be ridden around the lane and then pushed some more on his one legged shot. Durant V. Ellis handchecking doesn’t work because of how shifty Ellis is with the ball, he’d eventually get the step on Durant.

    If Melo loses, I’m chalking it up to the post finals lovefest of Dirk. He fried better defenders but give those defenders streetball rules and see if he even averages 10 points.

    When the NBA gets physical, players flop and refs break up everything. In this setting, if you flop, you pretty much loss that possession. If you are brave enough to argue over how hard someone hit you, the longer the argument goes, the more respect you lose. From that point forward people will give you something to call a foul over. I don’t see Dirk delivering hard fouls and playing dirty. It just isn’t him.

    Dirk being 7 feet and no one can bother his shot. We aren’t playing h-o-r-s-e. Have you ever shot a basketball with someone standing so close that they are breathing on your adams apple?

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    I don’t know what league you guys watch, but Melo gets to the line a lot more than Dirk. He “loves the contact” because he gets calls for it all the time haha…

    Ok, so Melo can bump Dirk. Maybe Dirk with his lanky-ass frame will have his arms hanging above Melo’s head. 0 shots get off for Melo. And that jab step you’re talking about? Works the same way as Dirk’s triple-threat game that people have been pointing out in this thread – only Dirk’s NOT going to bite on it from that far out. Partially because Melo is a below average distance shooter.

    If Melo was so close he was in Dirk’s shirt, he’d be there for a second before Dirk blew right by him. Or else he’d just do what he’s done his entire career – hit the shot no matter how close the guy was.

    It’s not a ’11 lovefest here, anyway. I’m just going off of watching him play for a decade, and the numbers that back it up.

  • First & Foremost

    Dirk’s triple threat does not work here. With the physical nature that the rules allow, Dirk slow ass sloth driving stride don’t help his cause. Each and every time, his first few dribbles will be going backwards. He just isn’t built for this environment. He just doesn’t hve the lateral quickness or handle to deal with someone’s physical play.

    Dirk may have that wiry strength (like the dude from ‘The Replacements’) but Melo is strong enough to pin him under the basket. It may be a tough lay up but in this setting that is more likely to fall than a jump shooter being off balance and harassed.

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    Melo is shorter and lighter than Dirk is – in what world could he outmuscle Dirk? I see a lot more big boy weight on Melo than I do on Dirk, too. He’s not pinning anyone anywhere in this matchup.

    Again, Melo’s jab steps won’t work, because Dirk will lay off of Melo’s career 32% from distance. “Go ahead, do your silly little step, I’m waiting a couple feet off of you.”

    People were clowning Dirk’s attacking game before the last few rounds of the playoffs, when they actually started to watch him. Lots of misconceptions lead to


    And you’re a much better poster than to claim that Melo is a better defender than Serge Ibaka. Dirk would back Melo down the same way, then unleash all sorts of pull up and spin move nightmares on him.

  • Nike Summer

    I cant even name an nba player that can beat Melo on a 1-on-1 right now, not even Kobe. Melo is the best isolation player in the NBA. Are the results coming from the votes or are they decided by the writer?

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    @ 44 – Melo is a nightmare for many players, but not Dirk. Similarly, Dirk would lose to a lot of these guys, but Melo is just not one of them. It’s a good matchup for him is all.

    And the winners are decided by votes:


  • Spydermaan

    I think MELO got robbed once again, good going dime.

  • Rainman

    How would Dirk POSSIBLY be stopped? come on guys…