Forget about who Michael Jordan thinks he can beat in a game of one-on-one. Let’s talk about who Blake Griffin wants to see play one-on-one.
Asked during an interview with Bleacher Report which three sets of players he would like to see go head-to-head, Griffin’s matchups included a LeBron James-Kevin Durant showdown, a battle of the point guards between Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook and a bid to put one of the shooting guard conundrums to bed with Kobe Bryant and James Harden.
To answer your question, yes, those are great selections. And no, I doubt Chris Paul will take offense to Griffin running with Westbrook and Rose over his own inclusion.
Recently, the basketball world has been all aflutter with Jordan’s assertion that he could beat Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, Julius Erving, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and LeBron (but not Kobe) in a game of one-on-one. While it’s entertaining to ponder how such matchups would play out, the 50-year-old Jordan won’t be lacing them up against LeBron or Kobe anytime soon. None of his hypothetical contests are going to happen; Griffin’s can.
Not that they will. Unless the NBA institutes a one-on-one event at the All-Star game, they probably won’t. That is, outside of in-game isolations. Still, at least Griffin’s matchups are possible.
The most intriguing one, of course, is that of Durant vs. LeBron. They’re the two best players in the league and it’s not even close. Watching them dual one another, without anyone else on the floor, would be riveting as hell.
Who would win that one? I’m going with LeBron (duh). Durant is near impossible to defend, even for the King himself, but LeBron has a better chance of stopping him than the Durantula does of limiting The Chosen One.
LeBron’s also too strong. On most nights, I find myself wondering how KD doesn’t break in half, what with all his forays into the paint. His lankiness allows him to seep through smaller windows when he attacks the basket, and his length should permit him to contest LeBron’s jumpers, but I can’t imagine him effectively bodying up against him.
Next there’s Rose and Westbrook, both of whom are working their way back from injuries. Assuming each player is healthy, Griffin aced this part of the interview too.
Thus far, both players have relied on their explosion and ability to reach the rim more than anything. Neither has ever shot better than 33.2 percent from deep over the course of an entire season, nor are either of them known for their defense. If the status quo holds, it’s an essential toss up.
Finally, there was Kobe and Harden. If Kobe was healthy, this would be another great dual. Harden is more explosive at this point of his career, but Kobe is Kobe. He finds ways to create shots and, historically, win.
For what it’s worth, I might have rolled with Harden and Wade there. In the interest of burying this he-said, she-said, they-said crap, I’d love to see who would win that one. Spoiler: Harden would.
Now carry on about your business. I hope you enjoyed our jaunt into the unknown and probably-never-will-be known.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.