While Cleveland forward Lebron James has established himself as the game’s best player the past five or so years, the question that has been posed by many is, “who can challenge or dethrone him?” King James poses many match-up problems for opposing players on both ends of the floor, making him extremely difficult to deal with offensively and defensively. So which players, past or present, possess the skill set and the ability to possibly trump James head to head in a game of one-on-one? The list is not particularly long, trust us. But these are the rare few who possibly could get it done. We’re not saying these guys would be guaranteed to beat LeBron, but all them definitely have a shot.
12. Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard wasn’t necessarily expected to be a superstar when he was drafted 15th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft, but a trade to San Antonio (on draft night, no less) put him under the tutelage of Gregg Popovich, one of the best coaches in the league. By 2014, he was leading the Spurs to an NBA championship and being named Finals MVP. But would he be able to beat LeBron 1-on-1? Well, his back-to-back NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2015 and 2016 say yes.
Leonard, already a great defender, has increased his scoring touch every single season so far, going from 7.9 points per game in his rookie season to 25.5 in 2016-17. He has quickly turned into one of the best all-around players in the entire league. His lock-down D would be enough to keep a 1-on-1 with LeBron close, and his improved ability to put the ball in the basket gives him a chance to win.