Top 15 One On One NBA Players: 5-1

Today we finally reach the Top 5 of our countdown of the Top 15 one on one players in the NBA. The last two days we’ve brought numbers 15-11 and 10-6 and today brings the starting five of our countdown.  The names in the Top 5 are likely quite familiar, but who is number one of the one on one stars?  Time to find out…

5) Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

Nowitzki is so crafty on the block and such an automatic shooter that he sneaks into our Top 5.  Dirk doesn’t have the athleticism that Howard or some of the other big men that have appeared previously on our list, but he makes up for it by being able to create offense against anyone guarding him.  Dirk gets a high majority of his shots out of posting up and can either back down and shoot over the top, or use his multifaceted face-up repertoire.  Dirk’s defense and lack of lateral quickness holds him out of the Top 4, but his offense is just too good to place him any lower…

4) Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

The rising name on this list is the reigning MVP of the league.  Derrick Rose can get around anyone while driving to the basket.  Even multiple defenders look like Greg Ostertag when D-Rose abuses them on the way to the hoop.  His strength and speed would work well on defense, but the glaring weakness in Rose’s game is his total lack of outside shooting.  It’s the only flaw in Rose’s lethal 1 on 1 game.

3) Kevin Durant, OKC Thunder

Durant is a freak of nature.  He has the shooting ability of Nowitzki, the slashing ability of Rose, and the athletic ability of Dwight Howard.  I’m convinced that nobody in the history of the game could successfully stop Durant 1 on 1.  Nobody.  He simply has the total offensive package, even winning two straight HORSE titles on All-Star Weekend, what an accomplishment!  We’ve seen KD’s ability on the playground court when he lit Rucker Park on fire for 66.  The only concern with Durant would be his 1 on 1 defense, which is the reason why he falls to #3 on our list.

2) LeBron James, Miami Heat

LeBron James may be subject to the most debate and most movement on this list.  In the end, the 1 on 1 situation brings out the best in LeBron’snatural talents and his game.  When he wants to be, James can be an imposing on-ball defender with his athletic abilities.  We’ve seen him matchup against bigger and smaller players on both defense and offense, and he has the all-around skill set to produce in any 1 on 1 situation.  While LeBron’s best skill is distributing and he may get lost in the offense (sometimes purposely, ahem NBA Finals 4th Quarter, ahem), the 1 on 1 game could allow LeBron the incentive to actually take the ball to the basket aggressively and consistently.  Without the added pressure of having to carry a team, franchise, and city, LeBron’s game could be liberated.

1) Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers 

The only real choice for number one on our list.  Not only is Kobe the best offensive player in isolation, but one of the best defensively as well.  Kobe is tied with Garnettand MJ with nine First Team NBA All-Defensive team honors.  Nine!  Those are matched by his nine First Team All-NBA selections.  Like Jordan before him, Kobe takes immense pride in being the best on both ends of the court.  Even though he doesn’t have the athleticism that Rose, Durant, and James have at this point in his career,  his scoring ability in isolation is still the best in the league.  And in a 1 on 1 situation, Kobe has the biggest intangible edge of anyone on this list – his intensity and will to win is still immeasurable.  Even at 32, nobody on the planet is beating Kobe Bryant 1 on 1.

In the words of Tony Kornheiser, that’s it!  That’s the list!  How would you rank the top one on one players in the NBA?  Who’s too high or too low and who have we left off?  Leave us some comments on your list and what you think.