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32 player one-on-one tournament with brackets for NBA All-Star weekend

By February 16, 2013June 18th, 2018No Comments

carmelo-kd-lebron-kobeNBA All-Star weekend is upon us and once again I’m fantasizing about what the NBA could do to make it better. The celebrity game is as exciting as watching an episode of Gold Rush Alaska and the skills challenge has as much action as a geriatric porno.

A few days ago I dropped what an NBA Jams style 2 on 2 tournament complete with brackets would look like. Who wouldn’t want to see how Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook would perform versus Lebron James and Dwayne Wade? This is a no brainer and would instantly become the most watched All-Star event since Vince Carter threw down the greatest arsenal of dunks ever.

If a two-on-two competition would be amazeballs imagine what a one-on-one tournament involving the best of the best in the NBA would be like? This would pretty much be the equivalent of sports porn for NBA fans. It’s something that many of us have fantasized about and want to see as much as Kate Upton naked (thank you Sports Illustrated) having a camera in the selection committee room for March Madness.

Well guess what, the NBA has done a one-on-one tournament before so it most certainly can happen again. In 1972 there was a one-on-one tournament with $15,000 straight cash homey going to the winner. The tournament culminated with the final matchup between Boston Celtic Jo Jo White and Detroit Piston Bob Lanier taking place at halftime of Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Los Angeles. Bob Lanier took home the title and the cash. Here’s the video showing what went down.

Since we now know that this is possible I went ahead and put together a one-on-one tournament of current NBA players. Here’s how I think it should go down.

This will be a 32-player tournament with four brackets. Initially I wanted to expand it to a 64-player tournament but when I started to seed players, after about number 35, I noticed that the talent was getting pretty thin. The goal of this isn’t to include everyone. We don’t need to see how Ramon Sessions would fare vs Kobe Bryant (though that would be enoyable to see Kobe shut him out because of Sessions comments when he left the Lakers) or have George Hill in there (no offense to George Hill, who’s having a career year, but his inclusion isn’t going to move the needle at all). If we are going to make this happen then we are going to do it right. We want the product to be top notch and limiting it to just 32 players will do that.

By limiting it to just 32 players it also adds some controversy as there will be good players left out. As you’ll see Dwight Howard didn’t make the cut nor did Marc Gasol. This can have fans and the media chirping about why someone didn’t make it and if there is a frozen card conspiracy theory personal vendetta against them by David Stern.

The selection process would be pretty simple. For the first twenty four spots we’ll be selecting by points scored per game average. This is a general barometer for how good a player is performing and there isn’t much arguing you can do with it. After that we’ll have eight wildcard spots which can be filled by any player. These spots will go to players that would be entertaining/draw a crowd (which will please David Stern and fans alike) and/or are better than their points per game average. This allows for someone who is in a certain system or plays team ball to still be included.

There is one asterisk in all of this. The one-on-one tournament commissioner has the power to invoke a “for good of the game clause” which allows them to move a player higher up in the seeding than their points per game average warrants. The players that I’m evoking this on are Chris Paul, who isn’t asked to chuck up thirty shots a game and is clearly one of the top six players in the NBA, and Blake Griffin, who moves up a few spots purely for entertainment purposes.

I’m guessing there are people out there that would want the selection process to occur via fan voting. Fan voting is good in theory but it doesn’t work. In 2003 Yao Ming, who was a rookie, was voted the Western Conference starter over three time reigning NBA Finals MVP Shaquille O’Neal. That’s garbage and that won’t happen in this tournament.

In the 1972 format they played by twos, to twenty, and you had to win by four. With a tournament this large there’s no way that we can do that. Instead we are going to play twos and threes to ten, win by two, thirteen straight up. Players have to take the ball back to the three point line on a changed possession.

The tournament would be held on Saturday of NBA All-Star weekend starting at 5 pm (eastern). That way if the tournament runs long there will be plenty of time to complete it (unlike if it took place on Friday night at 8 pm). Two games will take place at a time, on opposite ends of the court. For TV viewers there will be a split screen so that we can watch both of them at the same time. Once the tournament gets down to the Elite Eight we’ll only play one game a time.

Never to miss a marketing opportunity or to please the fans, we’ll be naming each of the regions of the brackets after a living NBA legend. All four of them will be in attendance to further add to the hype of this Twitter shattering event.

Without further adieu here’s what the selection committee has come up with for the seedings.

One Seeds
1. Lebron James
1. Kevin Durant
1. Kobe Bryant
1. Carmelo Anthony

Two Seeds
2. Chris Paul
2. Kyrie Irving (moved up one spot to give a potential juicy matchup vs Kobe which was tossed out previously but never happened)
2. Russell Westbrook
2. James Harden

Three Seeds
3. Stephen Curry
3. Dwayne Wade
3. LaMarcus Aldridge
3. Tony Parker

Four Seeds
4. Blake Griffin
4. Jrue Holiday
4. Brandon Jennings
4. David Lee

Five Seeds
5. Brook Lopez
5. Paul Pierce
5. Monta Ellis
5. Damian Lillard

Six Seeds
6. OJ Mayo
6. Rudy Gay
6. Chris Bosh
6. Paul George

Seven Seeds
7. Al Jefferson
7. Josh Smith
7. DeMarcus Cousins
7. Joe Johnson

Eight Seeds
8. Deron Williams
8. Zach Randolph
8. Andre Iguodala
8. Kevin Garnett (gets in via the Legacy clause and receives the nod over Tim Duncan because of his intensity and tough defense)

Last Five Out
Jamal Crawford (purely on entertainment)
Kemba Walker (probably a year away)
Dwight Howard (we don’t want his drama to take away from the amazingness of the contest. At this point he’s as popular as A-Rod)
Marc Gasol (better team player than one-on-one option)
Danilo Gallinari (his size and shooting ability would have made things interesting)

Here’s how the brackets would look (I did my best with matching it up so excuse me if I’m not Joe Lunardi and didn’t get this perfect):

Michael Jordan Bracket 

1 – Lebron James
8 – Kevin Garnett

4 – David Lee
5 – Brook Lopez

3 – Stephen Curry
6 – Paul George

2 – James Harden
7 – Al Jefferson

Bill Russell Bracket

1 – Carmelo Anthony
8 – Deron Williams

4 – Blake Griffin
5 – Damian Lillard

3 – Tony Parker
6 – OJ Mayo

2 – Chris Paul
7 – Joe Johnson

Magic Johnson Bracket

1 – Kobe Bryant
8 – Zach Randolph

4 – Jrue Holiday
5 – Monte Ellis

3 – LaMarcus Aldridge
6 – Rudy Gay

2 – Kyrie Irving
7 – DeMarcus Cousins

Larry Bird Bracket

1 – Kevin Durant
8 – Andre Iguodala

4 – Brandon Jennings
5 – Paul Pierce

3 – Dwyane Wade
6 – Chris Bosh

2 – Russell Westbrook
7 – Josh Smith

I’m getting so excited just thinking about this that I may need to take a full timeout to regroup and collect myself. I could talk about the various story lines for another 1000 words but I don’t write for Grantland (who I love) so I’ll leave that up to you.

What did you think about the format, seedings, and match-ups? Which story lines are the most intriguing for you? Who do you think would win it all? It’s very easy to go with all chalk but basketball rarely works out like that. Also, how would a healthy Derrick Rose change the outcome of all of this?

Drop your thoughts in your comments as I’d love to keep this conversation going. We are also on Facebook and Twitter so I’d love to talk to you about it there as well. Lastly, share this with other NBA fans. If we are lucky maybe this can get seen by the right person and this can actually happen!

Rob Cressy

Rob Cressy

Sports loving free throw specialist and yinzer living in Chicago who is awesome most of the time, has run with the bulls in Spain, and is a graduate of Second City's Improv program.