Since watching, thinking or reading about the current Laker team is generally ulcer inducing, I thought I'd run a fantasy basketball fan's dream one on one tournament, courtesy of Kobe Bryant.
I love Kobe because he is brutally honest when he gets a question he likes. He doesn't filter his comments so they are safe or will draw sympathy or favor. He speaks what he thinks, damn the torpedoes! He isn't always right, but I love his truth. His recent "boast" of being the greatest one on one player leads to this purely fun conjecture. The rules are from a guy who's been playing ball nearly 40 years. A lot of one on one. Games are to 15, by 3's and 2's, standard 3 point line all around. Standard paint, 5 second rule, which is common in one on one tourneys. Win by 2. Best 2 out of 3. This is key, but my tourney, my rule. MAKE IT, TAKE IT.
Broke up the brackets by size, as many tourneys do, in early rounds and my choices are based solely on players I've seen (circa mid-70's-now) All are in the prime of their careers (fantasy dream).
7' and up---Kareem, Shaq, Hakeem and Moses Malone (6'10, but always a center)
I think that out of these 4 Hakeem had the best overall one on one game. The format would hurt Shaq and Malone more, though depending on match-ups and allowance of physical play that one on one has, they could upset either Kareem or the Dream. But as I see it, I see Kareem and Hakeem playing in the finals and Kareem winning in 3 games. He has literally the only UNSTOPPABLE shot in history and he could easily hit 3-4 in a row before Hakeem even saw the ball.
6'11"-6'8"---LeBron, Dirk, Bob McAdoo and surprise, Larry Bird.
This is tough as very different styles, sizes, skills etc. LeBron, most gifted physical abilities ever, lacks some shooting ability. Dirk, maybe best non-guard shooter ever, with a fairly unstoppable shot of his own, McAdoo, many may not know but was Dirk, before Dirk, and a much better rebounder and defensive player, Could score anywhere from 20' in, with a barely touchable shot as well. Built for one on one. Bird is a wild card. Not your first thought when considering one on one. But truth is, his mental strength, shooting, eye/hand coordination,rebounding skill is off the charts strong and the make it take it format means he only has to hit 5 3's to win. Bet against him on that? He would definitely get in Dirk and Bron's head. I see Mac and Bron going 3 games, Bron winning barely. Bird and Dirk going 3 as well, but Dirk eventually ignoring Bird's smack talk and winning by 2 points. LeBron and Dirk, great match-up--strength,speed versus skill. In this format, I think Dirk wins in 3 tough games.
6'7"-6'3"---Toughest category for me to pick. So many great one on one guys this size. Gotta go with the best I can recall. Jordan, Kobe, Dr.J, and Rick Barry.
Match-up --Barry v. Jordan, Barry was an amazing skilled offensive player who could score from everywhere and was a super defensive player. He was tough mentally as well, so Jordan wouldn't get into his head. He could win a game, but Micheal is Micheal.Come on.
Kobe v. the Doctor (circa 75-77) This would be the greatest match-up of all the first rounders. If you never saw Dr. J in the ABA or early NBA, he was literally unstoppable, could leap over or around anyone, was a great shot blocker for being 6'7" and played very good positional D.
Kobe still sweeps him. Both games are unreal though.
Kobe v Jordan--- Should be for the overall championship, but only for final 4 birth. I know my pick. What do you guys think?
6'2"- under---Isiah Thomas, Iverson, Kevin Johnson, Tiny Archibald.
All very quick and outstanding ball handlers, Iverson being the weakest. KJ would be too strong in the paint for the others, but lacked real good range. He would lose first. Archibald was great and was great one on one but not quite there with Zeke and Iverson.- who both might be some of the finest and toughest scorers ever.
This would be so fun to see. Ultimately Isiah is too clutch and wins in 3 possibly OT games.
So final 4 is Isiah Thomas, Kareem, Dirk and--------------