The first matchup of the fourth round of the PtR Summer Showdown continues with a face-off between a deadly shooter and a rising star.
It is a half-court game in which the scoring increments are 1 point for everything inside the arc and 2 points for everything outside the arc, so long-distance bombers will do well in our tourney. The higher seed starts off with the ball and the first player to 11 points wins. The possession switches every time the ball is scored, and your votes determine the winner.
Kawhi Leonard (2nd Seed)
Leonard not only dethroned King James in the Finals, but also knocked him out of the Summer Showdown in his last matchup. But Dirk can't be taken lightly, and will make the game challenging for Kawhi.
On offense, Leonard may have to exert his athleticism to get every basket. Shooting over a near 7-footer likely won't work, and posting up wouldn't be smart either. His best method to get buckets is to wear Nowitzki out as much as possible. He can get Dirk to cover him out near the 3-point line and speed past him for layups or dunks, and once Dirk is tired he may be able to create more space for jump shots.
Leonard must be a pest on defense as well. It'll be near impossible to negate Dirk's jump shot, so Kawhi just has to make Dirk work for every shot he gets and make sure he doesn't waste any of his own opportunities on offense.
Dirk Nowitzki (4th Seed)
Before Leonard, it was Nowitzki who defeated the King back in 2011 and claimed the MVP honors as his own. Though he's 36 years old now, Dirk still has some veteran tricks that can be useful in this matchup.
With a near-five inch difference in height, it's clear that Nowitzki has to go with his jump shot throughout this matchup. His classic post-up fade-away will be killer, and that's just about all he needs to get his points.
Defensively, Nowitzki's best course of action is to challenge Leonard outside and to make him try to shoot over him. He'll most likely get burned when Kawhi drives in for a layup, so keeping him out of the paint would be best. Leonard has improved his jump shot over his career, but he's still not a sharpshooter you strategize for, like Nowitzki.
Now It's Your Turn
This is where you decide the outcome. Vote on the poll below and make sure to let your opinion be known in the comments of this article.