During the dredge and gloom of last summer’s NBA lockout, we had to come up with ways to entertain readers. No one wants to hear every day about what color suit David Stern was rocking or which video reporter threw the dukes up against which news anchor. Glamorous, it was not. Ten hour meetings devolving into Dwyane Wade calling for Stern to treat him like a man is not how any basketball fan wants to spend their summer. They want to hear about how Ramon Sessions screwed himself over this offseason and had to venture into basketball hell in Charlotte because he had nowhere else to go. They want to hear shady rumors about how Phil Jackson is taking his peace pipe and Iron Throne to New York. And of course, they want to hear where Dwight Howard is going.
But last summer? It was tough. Naturally, we took it back to the streets, took it back to the true essence of the game. Mano-e-mano. One-on-one. Growing up, you played one-on-one to prove your worth. Was another sixth grader better than you? Prove it. The winners got the girls, and the losers got shunned.
We left it up to readers, who apparently have very short memories. They voted Dirk – the reigning Finals MVP – as the best one-on-one player in the NBA. We didn’t agree, but hey, that’s what happens when you leave it up to people who spent hours sitting online refreshing a link over and over again.
The question of “Who is the best one-on-one player in the NBA?” went away for a while… until Kobe Bryant and Kyrie Irving regurgitated it earlier today. That might not be much of a contest, but there can be arguments made for a dozen different All-Stars that they’re the best isolation player in the game.
With that, I decided to rate them myself. Here are the top 10 one-on-one players in the NBA:
*** *** ***
10. KEVIN LOVE
You might not expect to see Love on a one-on-one list because he scores a lot of buckets on spot-up jumpers and put-backs in the lane. But he is solid in the post, has developed a shot all the way out to 25 feet, and has a big enough body that after 10 minutes of one-on-one with The Big Outlet, they’ll have to have two people carry you out and load you headfirst into the backseat.
Love also dropped 26 a night last night, and did it by shooting 45 percent from the field and 37 and 82 respectively from the lines. Guarding anyone out past the arc in one-on-one might be cool for a few possessions. But eventually, you’ll give Love a shot or two. And that’ll be a wrap.
Plus, I know for a fact he’d dominate here as he would in any neighborhood 21 game. The boy would get every rebound, would thus get to take the most shots at the rim, and might break your wrist in the process.