Debate: 1-on-1 at NBA All-Star Game?
Question: How can the NBA All-Star Game be improved?
BUCHER: All-Star Weekend is upon us and while commissioner David Stern didn't ask, I think it could use some sprucing up ... as in a competition that would assure some fiery competition. I have several ideas that I'd like to pitch, but the one I'd most like to see is a one-on-one contest.
BROUSSARD: I'd love to see a one-on-one competition as well, but only if the game's best players participated. Heck, who wouldn't want to watch Kobe Bryant versus Dwayne Wade in one semi, and LeBron James versus Kevin Durant in the other. But -- and I haven't asked the players so this is just speculation -- I would be shocked if any of the big names played. They won't even participate in the dunk contest, so I see no way they'd be in a one-on-one competition -- there is too much to lose. And without the big names I don't think it works. Does anyone really care who would win between Von Wafer and Shannon Brown? You couldn't even truly crown him the one-on-one champ because everyone would be thinking, "Kobe or LeBron would wipe the floor with him."
RB: As much as those matchups would be a dream come true, the reality is that protecting an image and other priorities have prohibited dream matchups on All-Star Weekend in just about every contest. But not all the players in the league are like that; either because they don't have a brand at risk or because they simply have more guts. I have to believe Monta Ellis, having been snubbed two years running now for Sunday's game, would love to steal the show on a Friday or Saturday night. Raymond Felton is such a bulldog that I think he wouldn't be afraid of the challenge, either. What, you wouldn't want to see Ty Lawson square off against Nick Collison? Fact is, there are plenty of relatively high-profile players whose only shot at being part of the All-Star festivities might be playing one-on-one. And just as 3-point shooters and high fliers have used the ancillary contests to raise their profile -- and, in the cases of Nate Robinson and Dee Brown, even create a brand -- there will be killer one-on-one players who would be eager to do the same.
CB: That simply is not true. The dunk contest is different because the best players aren't necessarily the best dunkers. If a no-name throws down a ridiculous dunk it's going to get everyone hyped (admittedly, not as hyped as if a superstar did it, but hyped nonetheless). The 3-point shootout is similar, though not to the same degree.
But a one-on-one game? The value of a one-on-one game is directly related to the quality of the players. I'll admit that watching one-on-one games would be OK, but I don't think it would add as much as you think. The only way it would be really entertaining without superstars/stars would be if guys were doing wicked crossover moves, faking guys out of their shoes, etc.
RB: Having watched the Red Bull one-on-one tournament on Alcatraz this past summer, I found a contest doesn't need big names or wicked moves to be captivating. Unlike any of the other contests, this isn't an exhibition of a singular talent, it's a battle of wills and skills (I'm going all Walt Frazier on you) in a head-to-head, don't-want-to-get-embarrassed competition. My only real concern is that guys would get so amped they'd be clawing at each other to avoid elimination, but couldn't All-Star Weekend use a little more of that competitive fire, no matter whom it comes from or how?
As long as there is a shot clock, the five-second backdown rule is applied and a reasonable game clock is implemented -- say, five minutes -- I can see the crowd getting into the contest in a way it does only when someone throws down a ridiculous jam or gets on a hot shooting streak in the other contests. Where the one-on-one contest would get really interesting, though, is in seeing bigs go against smalls. Sure, I'd love to see who would win out in a battle between Glen Davis and DeJuan Blair, but I'd be even more intrigued to see Goran Dragic face Kevin Martin or Michael Beasley take on Roy Hibbert. That's what made the Nate versus Dwight dunk contest so appealing; this would be that times five.
CB: The problem with most big-versus-small matchups is that they would degenerate into a big man backing down a small guy, and a small guy blowing by a big man for easy layups (or just shooting jumpers while the big backed off). For example, there's no way Hibbert could do anything but back down Beasley.
I think a one-on-one deal would be a nice injection of energy for a brief time. But unless you got some really big names to compete, I think it would lose its luster fairly quick.
RB: You make a competition of contrasting styles sound dull. But do you have any idea who would win? No. You also make it sound as if guys will just lie down against each other, as if Beasley wouldn't make Hibbert earn every inch or Hibbert wouldn't be busting it to block Beasley's shot. If guys don't care, then, yes, it's a bad idea. But I think you're underestimating the competitive fire that would be lit in guys in a contest where, undeniably, the stakes are who the better basketball player is. Every other competition -- even the skills competition -- is contrived.
One of the reasons that superstars aren't wild about those other contests is that they're unnatural -- dunking by yourself or shooting balls off a rack -- and yet the participants are going to be judged by the result. That's why one-on-one is different: It's what they do almost every day and it shows what a guy has as a baller, not an exhibitionist. No excuses, no hiding. For that reason, my guess is that the big names would be more inclined to compete in a one-on-one contest than in any of the other current events.
CB: One-on-one games don't really determine who the better basketball player is. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't.
I'll give you this, though. If the big names would play, this would be fantastic. I just don't see most of them doing it.
Chris Broussard and Ric Bucher are senior writers for ESPN The Magazine.
I would really love the idea although I know superstar players would NEVER want to ruin their image. It would still be great to see guys like Jamal Crawford go 1 on 1 with J.R. Smith though.
Haha, Jamal Crawford vs JR would be too ill.
I think it would be a good idea for the NBA to implement this. IMO, the Dunk Contest is done. I just don't get excited about it anymore. Even though the superstars would never do it, regardless of who it was, I would still watch.
Must see matchup I think everyone would lobby for is Rose vs Wall.
What about Matt Bonner vs Brian Scalabrine
PP,KB,Melo would be real tough in that. I hear Paul and Kobe go at it during the summer 1 on 1. It would be good to see them go at it. Lebron vs Kobe,Rondo vs CP-3,D-Will vs Rose
They should format it.......
Three 1 round games PG-SG-SF positional game. Game goes to 6pts, to make it more competitive 1point per shot, 3pt shot=2pts. Once you make one 2pt shot you can not shoot anymore 2 pointers. 5 minute clock so it would be a 15 minute game for the whole contest.
I'm quite sure with those rules the game would be competitive & players would take the initiative to try & win like they do in the skills competition.
Wish list for 1st contest
PG-Rose vs Wall
SG-Bryant vs Wade
SF-Durant vs Gay
*Looks like a winner to me, Best contest that could happen for the All-Star weekend
Flopping contest in the one on one... Ginobili vs Pierce, Varajao vs Turkoglu
Honestly, I'd rather a two on two, first to 7, 1's and 2's, no calls, 8 teams a small guard and a wing. The only bigs I wanna see go at it are Amare and Griffin and Dirk and Love.
Team So Cal- Gordon and Kobe
Team No Cal- Evans and Ellis
Team SW- Westbrook and Durant
Team South- Paul and JJohnson
Team Northeast- Harris and Pierce
Team Southeast- Wade and Lebron (I know)
Team Midwest- Rose and Granger
Team Northwest- Williams and Carmelo
I like your idea lol.
They should just ditch the east vs west. Just have the coaches choose the top 24 players in the league regardless of conference and do what the NHL did, have a fantasy draft, maybe have 2 legends as coaches like Magic and Barkley and have them pick teams playground style.
I think its funny that after the trade deadline, my Team Northwest becomes Team Northeast, Leaving Team NW wit Harris and Roy
Or Harris and Beasley
All-Star game tournament. Have 4 teams, consisting of a team of All-Stars on winning teams, and a a team of losing record All-Stars and have them play a double elimination tourney playing 8 minute quarters would be interesting. Would make things more fair for players like Ellis,Felton,Aldridge who get snubbed for bigger names with less numbers or impact.
I think it sounds great in theory, but would suck in practice. The players wouldn't want to get injured so they would half ass it and it would turn into guys just joking around and shooting mildly contested jumpers over each other.