As basketball fans, there is nothing more intriguing and exciting as two superstars going head-to-head, all-out, and forming a rivalry. As sports fans, there is nothing better than a rivalry of the big dogs. Rivalries is what keeps sports and competition so fun to watch. Weather it's team rivalries (I.E. Lakers vs. Celtics) or individual player rivalries (I.E. Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird), sports fans are all alike. We thrive in competition and rivalries, and so I bring you some individual match-ups we all are waiting to witness. Oh, and beware for some corny nicknames. Enjoy :)
The Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Jennings vs. The Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry. Both exciting, young rookies show extremely bright glimpses of potential. Stephen Curry bloomed later in the season, executing five 30+ Points and 10+ Assists performances, and setting a career-high 42 points against the Atlanta Hawks. Brandon Jennings on the other hand, has cooled down and sank down to earth inch by inch, but exploding with a 55-Point game against The Warriors. Jennings is the youngest person to ever score 55 points in a game, and the highest scoring rookie game since Earl Monroe's 56 point game.
Both three-point marksmen with supreme point-guard like mentalities shown to be future superstars in this league. Can Brandon Jenning's swagger and Stephen Curry's smarts carry them to the top? I think so, but for now, the better player is Stephen Curry. He is more consistent and plays in an offense more suitable for scoring. BJ's known for mediocre-shot selections, which hurt his team's kind of play.
Edge: Stephen Curry
Who wouldn't want to see the two best centers of the league matching up? Who doesn't want to see how their very different styles clash? The 6'11 high-flying swat machine, Dwight Howard against the 7'6 Chinese tree with a soft-feathery touch, Yao Ming. I can't wait to see this, knowing that Yao is just now in his prime, even after missing a full season. Head to head however, Yao Ming wins by a landslide. Dwight averages 12.2 Points per game on 45% shooting, and 9.8 rebounds per game against Yao. However, Yao averages 23.6 points per game on 56% shooting, and 10.4 rebounds per game. Clearly, Yao's towering height and length greatly affects Howard's offensive abilities, and his soft, skilled touch around the basket is too much for Dwight's D.
Edge: Yao Ming
Man... It's been years hasn't it? Ever since these two were superstars, elites, and even all-time greats. The incredible scoring machine, Tracy McGrady against his cousin with the legendary hype, "Air Canada", Vince Carter. Too bad. A few years ago, T-Mac's 13 points in 33 seconds will never get him past the first-round, nor will Vince Carter's lack of heart and unbelievable talent get him any higher. Fast forward to 2010. Tracy was just struggling for a job, while Vince is slowly decaying.. For us it's only been years. To them, it's been decades. T-Mac's endless barrage of knee problems has scarred his basketball career for good. Vince's injuries and lack of desire would also destroy his basketball career. Now, at the steady declines of their careers, who would be the better player. Orlando vs. Detroit, one still starts, one is dumped on the bench. Very tragic story indeed.
Advantage: Vince Carter
The Green, mean, red-headed machine, Brian Scalabrine vs. The former college superstar sharpshooter, Adam Morrison. This ones a tuffy. Scalabrine possesses one of the most unstoppable two-hand jump passes in the league. Add to that, his unlimited arsenal and great defense, and you have an all-star. His unpredictable inbound bounce-pass will also fool any defender aiming for a steal. Not to mention his "DEFENSE" chants will fire up the whole Boston team. Adam, your shooting skills are inferior to the Scal-Man.
Advantage: Brian Scalabrine
Wow. The amount of skill, basic fundamentals, and grace in one match-up is astounding. The 7-foot Spaniard, and savior of Los Angeles, Pau Gasol vs. the Greatest Power Forward of All Time, 2-time MVP, Tim Duncan. Duncan at 6'11, is not much shorter than Pau. Both have proven to be champions, Duncan being a four-time champion, and Pau winning it all twice. The two stars possess an array of fakes, hooks, and great mid-range shots. But in the world of basketball, youth is the biggest advantage of all. Pau Gasol is at the late prime of his career, turning 30 just a few months ago, while Duncan is slowly rotting away at age 34. Tim is slowly showing signs of decline, having career low stats last year. Gasol is quicker, taller, and at this time, younger. Duncan may have already passed the torch as the best, skilled big-man in the league to Pau.
Advantage: Pau Gasol
The reincarnation of John Stockton in Utah, Deron Williams against the young, dangerous Bull, Derrick Rose. What makes this so fun is they are similar in many ways. Both are elite point guards, capable of scoring in bunches, setting teammates up, and to startle and amaze fans. Williams has one of the best crossovers in the league, and to follow that up is his consistent jumpshot, and his lethal three-pointers. Derrick Rose has the athletic ability to finish miles above the rim with extreme explosiveness and thunder. Both are extremely quick, fast, and most of all, they have size. Both guards are 6'3, Rose weighing in at 190, and Williams at 209. They are able to bang inside while taking it to the hole. In the end, I'd have to give it to the projected breakout star of this year, Derrick Rose. He is more explosive and unpredictable than Deron, and will find many ways to score in Utah's subpar defense, especially if they keep playing defense the way they have the last few games. Rose is also surrounded by a better supporting cast, that is if Boozer gets back, which MAY lead to more assists as well. With Deron, you never know, but Rose is looking to break out this year. Beware.
Advantage: Derrick Rose
With the switch of Utah's Carlos Boozer and Minnesota's Al Jefferson, we NEED to compare these two. Jefferson is now accompanied by superstar Deron Williams, while Boozer will be with breakout star, Derrick Rose. Deron is the better playmaker, and Rose is the better scorer, so Boozer wouldn't be the 1st option on offense. Jefferson will run Utah's offense down low, as both men have a wide-variety of offensive moves, able to shoot from 15 feet, and are both 6'10" tall. Injuries have made their mark on these two, but when healthy, they are extremely dangerous scorers and rebounders. It may seem close, but Boozer clearly takes this one.. Maybe it will change due to the switch of teams, as Jefferson will finally have a better surrounding cast and playmaker.
Jefferson: 16.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 1.7 apg, 48% shooting, 65% ft, and 2.0 bpg.
Boozer: 19.8 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 3.3 apg, 53% shooting, 74% ft, and 0.4 bpg.
Advantage: Carlos Boozer
Oh, and I'm sorry. I don't know any nicknames that fit these two.
Yes, I called him Stone Cold. The cunning and dedicated Sun, Steve Nash vs. the solid journeyman, Jason Kidd. Both careers are at the ending age, but they are both still playing at all-star levels. Steve Nash (36) and Jason Kidd (37) both made the all-star teams last year. Amazing right? I'm not saying that MONTA ELLIS, didn't deserve the spot.. Ehem.. But anyways, Nash and Kidd both have eyes on the back of their heads. They are both offensive facilitators and excel at play-making. Nash is also one of the greatest shooters of ALL-TIME, having a career average of 43% from behind the arc. Kidd is 3rd place in triple-doubles all-time, and rebounds at a steady, high amount for a guard. The difference between the two? Kidd possesses stifling defense, that Steve has never in his career shown. Kidd will wear Nash down, not to mention Dallas is a great 3-Point defensive team, and the Suns are a 3-Point team so... End of story.
Advantage: Jason Kidd
It's only fair to put the top two scorers in the league right? Wade and Jame's numbers would surely drop, Kobe and Dirk are slowly getting older, Monta wouldn't get much chances with a growing Curry and a newly acquired David Lee on his team, so the only comptetion to Kevin Durant is Carmelo Anthony. Carmelo and Durant are pure scorers, that can score in any given way. Carmelo being able to bang down in the post, and Durant being a force on defense with his length and height. Both are tall, Melo at 6'8, Durant at 6'10. Both are agile, and can shoot 3's as silky as anybody in the league. Who would win in a Thunders vs. Nuggets matchup? Easy, the one who can play better defense. Even when Melo goes in the post, Durant's height and length advantage will bother him. Durant has also stated that his number one priority this season was defense. Melo is not known for commitment on the defensive side. You may argue, but I pick Durant, because of defense and length.
Avantage: Kevin Durant
The all-around kid from Farragut, Kevin Garnett vs. the savior of San Antonio, Tim Duncan. Both are in the top 10 Power-Forwards of all time in my mind, and both are great on offense and terrorize on the defensive side. Garnett is the more athletic, and all-around in my opinion, as he can shoot the mid-ranged and fades consistently and passes better. Duncan is the smarter and is the quick-thinker who stops offense before they can get further. Both are opposing forces on defense, and are great all-around.
This is so hard to decide, because Tim Duncan is obviously the GREATER player, after 2 MVP's, 4 Championships, and 3 Finals MVP in his whole career. Garnett has 1 MVP, 1 Championship, and 1-Defensive player of the Year award.
Head to head, both these living legends match up almost evenly.
Kevin Garnett: 20.8 ppg, 11.2 rpg, 4.3 apg, 45% shooting, 78% ft, 2.1 bpg, 3.1 to, and 3.3 personal fouls.
Tim Duncan: 20.1 ppg, 12.1 rpg, 3.3 apg, 46% shooting, 62% ft, 1.9 bpg, 2.6 to, and 2.4 personal fouls.
Head to head, I think Garnett's agility and quickness may prove too much for Duncan. This is probably the hardest comparison I could think of, in terms of talent and 1 on 1.
Advantage: Kevin Garnett
The exciting, young, big, athletically-gifted point guard, Derrick Rose vs.The exciting, young, big, athletically-gifted point guard, John Wall. Very similar games, from the rookie from Kentucky, and the 3rd-Year man from Memphis. Both run the point at blinding speed, and in dynamic fashion. They are both 6'3-6'4, and can outmuscle their opposing defenders. Both need to refine their inconsistent jumpers, but they can get to- the rim at will, using tremendous quickness and power. Defensively, John Wall takes the cake, but experience can do a lot of things. Rose is in his breakout season, and Wall's just getting started. In this one, experience would be a major factor.
Advantage: Derrick Rose
The Greatest Basketball Player of this era, Kobe Bryant vs. The charismatic enigma, Dwyane Wade. The top two shooting-guards of the game, and two of the top 3 players in the game today, these two put on a show night in, night out. Both are defensive nightmares, as both can lockdown their opponents any day. Offensively, it's no problem. Wade can slash to the rim at unseen heights, and extreme speeds, while Kobe can put up any shot, any game, any circumstance, and any level of difficulty. They can also pass the ball and take over with their play-making when they make it their top priority. Wade and Bryant are basketball gods in the clutch. They have no intention of losing, whatsoever. So, how does this matchup play out? Age.
I'm sorry Kobe, but as I've seen, you've lost some lateral explosiveness. It may because your not putting much pressure on your newly repaired knee, but it is a concern. You can still get it done, but the younger, faster guard gets it. You will forever be the 2nd greatest shooting guard of all time though.
Advantage: Dwyane Wade
The Most Athletically-Gifted Man of All Time, LeBron James vs. the insane, intimidating brute, Ron Artest. Ron may be the strongest man in the league, pound for pound. His incredible strength added to his insanity is a perfect recipe for the scariest man on defense. He has strong, quick hands that can get the ball out of any forward/center's hands, and the focus of a madman. Not many can withstand a series of games against Artest. LeBron however, is a robot. He has the speed of a cheetah, the strength of a bull, the size of a Rhino, the vertical-leap of a monkey, and the skills of Magic Johnson. He is able to match Ron's strength, and is easily the much faster and quicker SF.
Advantage: LeBron James
Tired of "The Black Mamba" titles huh? Haha, heres one for you.
So once again, the aging megastar, Kobe Bryant vs. the rising superstar, Kevin Durant. Both are fantastic shooters; imagine two sniper-rifles from behind the arc. Durant and his Thunders threatened to eliminate Bryant's Lakers during their team meltdown, but Kobe wouldn't allow it. Now the Thunders are a year better, and the Lakers are a year older. I don't think we'll be seeing much of this matchup, as Ron will most-likely defend Durant, but Durant will most likely guard Kobe. With no former Defensive-Player of the Year level defensive-specialist on Kobe, Kobe will probably be better off offensively.
Advantage: Kobe Bryant
The most anticipated match-up in my opinion, LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant. The MVP of the last 2 seasons against the projected MVP for this season. Both are unstoppable scoring machines. LeBron can get to the rim at will with his unmatched combination of size, strength, and speed. Kevin Durant is the league's silkiest superstar, with an easy stroke, and great length. Both young megastars have room to grow, and potential to become larger than life. They are arguably the top small-forwards in the league, and top 5 players in the league. So, who is the better player? Kevin is entering his fourth season in the league, and there is a lot of pressure on him to continue his stellar growth from last season. LeBron, is fresh off the heated transition of teams. With all eyes on Durant for MVP, a lot of weight has been lifted off Bron’s back. LeBron James has more experience, and he can match Durant’s size and quickness. Durant however, cannot match LeBron’s speed, and driving force when he takes it to the hole. LeBron also rebounds at the same level as Durant, but he averages the assist numbers of a point guard.
Head to Head, LeBron dominates.
LeBron James: 29.6 ppg, 1.2 bpg, 2.8 to, 6.2 rpg, 53% fg, 50% 3fg, 6.2 apg, 2.2 spg, and 1.2 pf, 5 Wins -0 Losses
Kevin Durant: 25.2 ppg, 0.4 bpg, 3.6 to, 5.4 rpg, 45% fg, 44% 3fg, 1.6 apg, 1.6 spg, and 1.4 pf, 0 Wins - 5 Losses
Advantage: LeBron James