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  • Who is the NBA's best 1-on-1 player? Your vote will help us crown a champion. The competition heats up in the round of 16.
By Rohan Nadkarni
September 19, 2017

Welcome to Round 2 of The Crossover’s first-ever NBA 1-on-1 tournament, in which you, presumably the fans, decide which NBA player would be the king of the court if the league’s best stars truly went head-to-head. You guys went chalk in the first round—the top 16 seeds all advanced, mostly in blowouts. Round 2 certainly has some tougher matchups, and hopefully the beauty of our totally fake seeding system shines through this time, as some of these 1-on-1 battles are filled with intrigue. On to the voting!

(Note: The seeds don’t matter, it’s about the matchups.)

1. LeBron James vs. 16. John Wall

The current dominant force in the East takes on the player hoping to entrench himself in that conversation. LeBron is perhaps perfectly built for this competition, but Wall should have enough energy in his legs to make James work defensively.

 

(If you can't see the poll above, click here.)

2. Kyrie Irving vs. 15. Jimmy Butler

Irving actually ended up on the Celtics after they flirted with the idea of Butler for at least part of the summer. Irving’s arsenal of layups, finger rolls and every other possible finish at the basket make him one of the favorites in the tournament despite his relatively small stature. Butler is a bulldog, however, and he’ll match Kyrie’s balletic dives to the hoop with a ferocious intensity. Jimmy can guard pretty much anyone in the league, so this matchup is truly a tossup.

 

(If you can't see the poll above, click here.)

3. Kevin Durant vs. 14. Damian Lillard

The star of Oakland’s basketball team vs. a product of Oakland. This is obviously a tough draw for Lillard, who is in the seemingly impossible position of having to guard a more-or-less seven-footer who can dribble like a guard and shoot about as well as anyone in the league.

 

(If you can't see the poll above, click here.)

4. Russell Westbrook vs. 13. Paul George

Before they unite, they must fight. The Brodie and PG-13 may be teaming up to take down the Warriors next season, but how would they fare against each other? George’s size and ability to connect from outside makes him one of the more exciting players in this tournament. Then again, Westbrook’s Tasmanian Devil act worked to the tune of a triple f------ double last season. This is arguably the toughest choice of Round 2.

 

(If you can't see the poll above, click here.)

5. James Harden vs. 12. Kawhi Leonard

Two superstars who at different times last season appeared to have the MVP award locked up. Kawhi can defend, but can he keep up with Harden—perhaps the game’s most versatile scorer—offensively? Leonard’s offense is always improving, but he’s still a touch below Harden as an iso scorer. This will be the ultimate battle of offense vs. defense.

 

(If you can't see the poll above, click here.)

6. Stephen Curry vs. 11. Chris Paul

The State Farm Bowl! Paul and Curry have been battling each other for years, with Paul, one of the best point guards ever, almost always falling short. Curry’s shooting ability has earned his place amongst the NBA’s legends, but maybe without all those dang Warriors on the court, Paul can finally prove if he is the better player. This is easily my favorite pairing of Round 2.

 

(If you can't see the poll above, click here.)

7. Carmelo Anthony vs. 10. DeMar DeRozan

The princes of the elbow jumper. Maybe the two toughest shot-makers in the league. Anthony’s seen his star fade as he toils away in New York, while DeRozan’s postseason struggles have put a dim on his career. Perhaps this 1-on-1 tournament is a way for each of them to remind the basketball world of their individual brilliance.

 

(If you can't see the poll above, click here.)

8. Anthony Davis vs. 9. Giannis Antetokounmpo

Now we’re talking, people. A matchup of two of the NBA’s premier unicorns. Antetokounmpo broke out last season, but a lot of people have been sleeping on Davis as the Pelicans as a team have struggled. Does Davis’s shooting give him the edge in this matchup? Or is The Greek Freak’s athletic ability enough to slow down The Brow? This is a battle between two people who should be in the MVP conversation for years to come.

 

(If you can't see the poll above, click here.)

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