Top five 1-on-1 matchups we'd love to see Celtics players in

Justin Leger
NBC Sports Boston

Twenty-four years ago, we were supposed to be treated to one of the most intriguing 1-on-1 matchups ever between NBA superstars Shaquille O'Neal and Hakeem Olajuwon.

In his latest column, NBC Sports' NBA insider Tom Haberstroh detailed what could have been a massive pay-per-view event featuring the two heavyweights. The "War on the Floor," as it was referred to, was moving toward being a great success until it was derailed by injuries.

But what if the idea were revived with some of today's biggest NBA stars participating?

Here are five 1-on-1 matchups we'd love to see the Celtics be a part of:

Kemba Walker vs. Kyrie Irving

You knew this one was coming. Kyrie Irving wants this matchup to happen, and so do we. Seriously, NBA, name your price.

Obviously, this matchup has plenty of intrigue due to Kemba Walker replacing Irving on the C's. But that isn't the only thing that would make a 1-on-1 between the two point guards interesting. Both are exceptional ball-handlers and shooters. We can assume there wouldn't be much defense involved, but no one is paying to see that anyway.

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Jayson Tatum vs. Bradley Beal

Our friends over in Washington D.C. agree this is the matchup that makes the most sense for Tatum. You probably know by now that Tatum and Beal grew up in the same city and attended the same high school, so that's the primary reason we'd love to witness this game of 1-on-1.

Beal has more experience under his belt as an NBA star, but Tatum made it clear just before the season was suspended that he can go toe-to-toe with his old St. Louis pal. Sign us up.

Marcus Smart vs. Patrick Beverley

Would this matchup give us the beautiful display of offense that the previous two matchups on this list would? Absolutely not. But would it be entertaining? Absolutely.

Smart and Beverley have similar reputations as disruptors on defense. Both have an uncanny ability to get under the skin of their opponents. So what would happen if the two went at it in a game of 1-on-1? There has to be at least a 50 percent chance a fight breaks out, right? We'll take those odds and pay to watch that matchup. Mic them both up for maximum entertainment too.

Jaylen Brown vs. Brandon Ingram

The Los Angeles Lakers selected Ingram with the second overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Then, the C's took Brown at No. 3. The two forwards have been compared ever since, and it's fair to say they will continue to be compared for the rest of their respective careers.

Ingram (now with the New Orleans Pelicans) and Brown both were enjoying success prior to the 2019-20 season being suspended. We can debate who the better player is until the cows come home, but we'd rather just watch the two settle things in a game of 1-on-1.

Gordon Hayward vs. Tobias Harris

This definitely wouldn't be the main event for our hypothetical pay-per-view, but it would be an interesting matchup between two comparable players and Eastern Conference rivals. Hayward and Harris have similar career numbers and playing styles, so we'd love to see which player would come out on top in a good old fashioned 1-on-1 showdown.

Top five 1-on-1 matchups we'd love to see Celtics players in originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

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