The NBA has a ton of talent right now in both conferences. There are arguably 10 players who can win the MVP Award every year and that is why the league has been so interesting over the past few years. That is why it might be interesting to pit some of the great superstars against each other in the greatest superstar showdown ever.
Specifically, there is a mix of over-30 superstars and under-30 superstars that can and should play each other. Team Old School will be led by LeBron James and Kevin Durant while Team New School is led by MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard. Completing the lineups for Team Old School is Stephen Curry, James Harden, and LaMarcus Aldridge. For Team New School, Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic start in the backcourt with NBA champion Anthony Davis at center. Here is how the game plays out.
Stephen Curry vs. Kyrie Irving
The point guard showdown will go just like it went during the 2016 NBA Finals. Stephen Curry’s shooting will be extremely key for Team Old School because he will be the one running off screens for LeBron’s passing ability. With LeBron handling the ball, Curry is free to spot up for shots and even go one with one with Irving.
Kyrie, the confident and cool scorer he is, will take it to Curry every time he has the ball in isolation. Irving is arguably the best ball handler in NBA history so he will have no problems creating space to score over Stephen Curry. Irving will be the second-leading scorer for his team in the game because he will want to prove he isn’t a pushover and easily one of the best guards in the league.
James Harden vs. Luka Doncic
James Harden is the best scorer in the NBA and that alone gives him the advantage over Luka Doncic. Luka is a superstar in his own right and will hold his own, but Harden is just unstoppable at attacking the rim off the dribble. With the amount of talent around him, Harden won’t have to resort to long isolation plays with stepback threes and can attack off the bounce.
Luka will showcase his effective overall game since the start of the game and will finish with close to a triple-double. Doncic will get some shots off, but he will have a tough time defending James Harden in this game. This is a fun matchup to watch but Team Old School has the edge in this one.
Kevin Durant vs. Kawhi Leonard
This will be the evenest matchup in the game because both KD and Kawhi have similar games in terms of the way they score. KD and Kawhi are very efficient from the outside and can finish at the rim very well. Even though Durant is a slightly better scorer, Kawhi has the edge on defense. In any other circumstance, KD will dominate a big game but Kawhi will minimize Durant’s impact greatly in this one. He won’t stop him, but he won’t let him win the game on his own either.
Kawhi will be the most efficient player for Team New School and will make it known he wants to be the best “under-30” player in the world. Kawhi has the experience and talent to be a dominant player in this game, so the matchup is even.
LeBron James vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo
The most exciting matchup will be between The King LeBron James and MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Giannis Antetokounmpo beat out LeBron James for the MVP Award this year, so this one will be a matchup that dictates the outcome of the game. Both stars will get their numbers of course, and their impact will come with their rebounding and playmaking. Both stars have the best all-around stats but LeBron’s ability to control games better than anyone else comes in his team’s favor.
Antetokounmpo’s athleticism and youth is a big advantage for him, but LeBron’s basketball I.Q. is the key to this game. Both players will be the leaders for their squads and this will be the biggest matchup to remember.
LaMarcus Aldridge vs. Anthony Davis
Davis is the better player and will have a slightly bigger impact for his team. Aldridge will hold his own with his mid-range proficiency and he will have his looks due to LeBron’s and Harden’s penetration. Aldridge will drop a cool 15 points in the game of which 10 points will be assisted. He plays within himself and has a strong game for his squad. Davis will lead his team in scoring with 30 big points, however.
Davis will up his game alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and his athleticism around the rim will be a perfect complement. The lineup of Leonard, Antetokounmpo, and Davis will be very difficult to score against and Davis will find a way to translate that on the offensive end. Anthony Davis will be a scary competitor in this one, although Team Old School is just too smart and experienced to lose.
The first quarter will be a bit of a back and forth between Kyrie and Steph. Their long-range shooting and ability to create their own shots will cause the game to start very fast, with the score tied at 30-30 in the first quarter alone. KD, Harden, and Doncic all contribute offensively as well although they will taper down in the second half. The second quarter was much of the same, although the bigs start taking control. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis, and LaMarcus Aldridge are the highlight performers in the quarter although the score is close 65-63.
The second half is where LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard step it up. The Finals MVPs turn it on both ends of the floor, with their dominating play dictating the outcome of the third quarter. Kawhi drops 12 points in the quarter and also snatches 3 steals with some lazy play from James Harden and Stephen Curry. LeBron’s chase-down block on Giannis Antetokounmpo in the final seconds of the quarter raises the roof and boosts his squad’s morale entering the fourth and final quarter. Giannis Antetokounmpo has a big fourth quarter, although Davis drops 20 points in the quarter to steal the show. Davis threatens to lead Team New School to victory, but this is LeBron’s game to lose. LeBron’s playmaking finds Curry for a few open shots, gives Harden space to attack, and gets Durant a chance to score one on one. James puts his head down, makes plays, and counters Davis’s massive quarter. There is no way a team with Curry, Harden, Durant, and LeBron loses so that is why Team Old School takes the victory.
In the end, LeBron’s leadership and the scoring ability of Durant, Curry, and Harden will be too much. James turns it on in the 4th quarter which gives his team a ton of confidence. Seeing LeBron’s unselfishness come into play makes the entire starting lineup move the ball to score efficiently and end the game in their favor.
Old School Superstars vs. New School Superstars 135-120
MVP: LeBron James (35 points, 11 rebounds, 15 assists)