15 NBA Players Who Could Beat LeBron James 1-on-1
15 NBA Players Who Could Beat LeBron James 1-on-1
LeBron James would beat the vast majority of the NBA in a game of one-on-one ten times out of ten. But there are a few players he might only beat six-to-nine times out of ten. While most, if not all, of these players would probably struggle to defend the 6'8", 250lb behemoth, they can generate points and might be able to provide enough D to win. There is certainly a possibility of that happening with all these players. LeBron can be beaten at least some of the time by these guys. And it is in celebration of that slight sense of basketball mortality that I present this list to you. Here are the top 15 NBA players who stand the greatest chance of beating King James on the playground.
We begin with Kobe Bryant. The Black Mamba remains one of the best scorers in the game and still has the physical capabilities to match up with just about anyone. Bryant said himself that he thinks he would beat James due to LeBron's unselfish style of play. Tell me you wouldn't pay to see that game.
Kevin Durant might be the league's most complete offensive player. Which means that he could attack LeBron in a number of different ways and score efficiently. He might not have the athletic gifts that James does, but he's a little taller and a little better shooting from range. That gives him a shot.
Dirk Nowitzki spoiled LeBron's first season with the Miami Heat by winning the NBA title and the Finals MVP as the centerpiece of his Dallas Mavericks team. His turnaround, one-legged jumper is unguardable and at seven feet, Dirk has the size to rise up over the King from anywhere on the court.
Carmelo Anthony came into the league at the same time as LeBron and has lived in his shadow somewhat. But Melo's offensive game is nothing to overlook. Like Durant, Melo can score from anywhere. Unlike Durant, Melo also has the frame to take it down low against James and come out on top.
Russell Westbrook is an athletic freak. He gives up some size to LeBron, but he has a phenomenal pull-up jumper and a lightning quick first step that would allow him to take it to the rim against a bigger, stronger opponent. There's also the fact that he could probably jump over your house.
Dwyane Wade had to be on this list. You think a fiery competitor like Wade wouldn't pull out all the stops to win this one? He would love the fact that the odds would be against him and relish the chance to show once and for all that he is still the alpha dog in Miami. If there was one person you could count on to be that ruthless to a friend, it's Dwyane Wade.
James Harden has come into his own since being traded. He now has his own team where he is the primary offensive option and that has allowed him to better showcase his considerable talents. He has great shooting range and touch and he works off the dribble as well as anyone. The quick lefty gives up some size, but he has great footwork and a snappy jumper that would keep LeBron honest.
Monta Ellis has never been on a good team. But that isn't to say that he isn't one of the best offensive players in the league. Ellis is about as explosive as they come and has shown in the past that he can go on scoring runs that would make Wilt Chamberlain blush. If he got hot against LeBron, there's not telling what might happen.
Chris Paul may be pound-for-pound the toughest player in the NBA. He also might be the most clutch player in the league. Combine that with his quickness and court-awareness and he becomes a nightmare for anyone in a one-on-one situation. He might be a pass-first point guard, but he has shown he can take over a game and score at will. That makes him a dangerous opponent even for LeBron.
Stephen Curry is another one of those guys that can just shoot from anywhere. He hits threes for fun and has good quickness off the dribble. He also has some pretty silky footwork under the rim and can make defenders bite on any number of ball-fakes, head-fakes and jab-steps.
Dwight Howard might be the only guy on this list who is actually stronger than LeBron. He has the size advantage too at 6'11" and would be able to take LeBron into the post without sentencing himself to defeat. Howard's defense is top notch also, he might actually be the only guy on this list that could think about beating James with his D.
Jamal Crawford is as polished a scorer as they come. He's been a Sixth Man Of The Year winner precisely because of his incredible ability to generate ludicrous amounts of offense off the bench in limited minutes. While that doesn't guarantee him victory in this type of game, it definitely leaves him in with a shout.
Kevin Love is a little taller than LeBron, is an elite rebounder and can shoot all the way out to the 3-point arc. He'll smother any loose balls or missed shots and he can make you pay with his own smooth offensive game. Much like Dirk Nowitzki, Love's height and quick release on the J help neutralize LeBron's defensive prowess.
Deron Williams is a tough point guard who plays very unselfish basketball. But he grew up shooting from crazy distances in his back yard, and as a result he has a lethal weapon for this game. He's quick enough to get to the rim, but if he starts heating up from mid-range or outside, he becomes very dangerous.
Blake Griffin is the only guy on this list who might be as athletic, if not more so, than LeBron James. We've all seen the dunk highlights and all that by now. But Blake's athleticism gives him a huge advantage in one-on-one. If you can out-athlete someone, and they're the only one standing in your way, it becomes pretty clear what you have to do. Use your athleticism to overpower your opponent. If Blake could do that against James, he could win that game.