2017 NBA GO: Is Kawhi Leonard really the game’s Best Two-Way Player?

2017 NBA GO: Is Kawhi Leonard really the game’s Best Two-Way Player?

Aug 12, 2017, 2:36:50 PM Sport

Amidst the chaos in Cleveland, more and more seemed to have joined the drama -- at least, in their own way of, well, dissing LeBron James -- with a recent one by Michael Jordan himself declaring “Kawhi Leonard is the NBA’s best two-way player today.”

So really, is Kawhi today’s best two-way player?

Actually, there are 9 guys who could qualify for this argument -- Jimmy Butler, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul, Anthony Davis, John Wall, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Hassan Whiteside and Paul Millsap. Why?

Because one, say a player like Draymond Green who is cool in defense is wanting in offense. Same goes if ever one is great in offense but weak in defense. And we can’t just take in Draymond’s rebounding or passing ability for this one since we’re talking about offensive and defensive skills NOT all-around ability. Two, to be eligible -- one has to have been an All-Defensive team member in any of the last three seasons. This means, rookies especially are not qualified since they need to build their reputation first -- meanwhile, for non-rookies, ‘relevancy’ explains one’s All-Defensive membership.

Thus for LeBron James’ fans, this relevancy also answers why he did not make the cut for the Best Two-Way Player. Forget the chasedown blocks, the league he's in doesn’t even recognize this ‘every now and then’ feat as the last time he made the All-Defensive team was 4 years ago -- which means there’s just others who are defensively better than LeBron today. See? So, MJ was right in not giving the honor to LBJ.

At any rate, in case you’re wondering how could a Chris Paul be a candidate for the best two-way player when he’s too small to take on forwards and centers -- here’s a question, “Do you normally see Kawhi guarding say a DeMarcus Cousins, or an Anthony Davis regularly shadowing Steph Curry?”

No. That’s why there’s what we call perimeter and inside defenders. And we can’t be biased with this or in any other award for that matter, ‘cause anyone who meets the standard -- regardless of height or position -- should be considered!

Speaking of standards, we also can’t be subjective in choosing the Best Two-Way Player. This is not a popularity contest. There’s basis to the selection and for which the following stats are the factors of a simple yet revealing formula that we have devised. 


OFFENSE: Points per game, Field goal attempts and Free throw percentage.

Obviously, one has to have an offensive game (at least 10 FGA) to be considered for the Best Two-Way Player, and it would show in their points per game. While everyone would understand the PPG, many would question why did we include FGA instead of its percentage? For one, a player may have a ton of points because he takes too many shots, or is the focal point of the offense -- with the percentage failing to reflect on one’s playing style or sweet spots! So, we try to balance this by picking on one's FGA.

As for the free throw percentage, hey, everything’s equal at the foul line! And especially if you’re ‘the man’, it’s a must that you should be good in free throws as it’s really important during crunch time! You should know.

DEFENSE: Steals per game (PG-SF) or Blocks per game (PF-C) and Minutes per game.

As of press time, steals and blocks are the only factors that are reflected in the stat line. There’s no stat about a player’s ability to delay the opposition’s offense nor is there a stat for tapping the ball or something like that. Until then, we got to make do with just the number of steals or blocks.

Now for the minutes per game, this speaks of one’s playing time. Like, how much 'nasty' could you do with the minutes that are given you on the court? Say for Chris Paul, he could give you 2 steals in 31.5 minutes a game. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis could give you 2.2 blocks in 36.1 minutes per game. Got the point? So, whoever gets the highest aggregate score on this is the Best Two-Way Player.


  1. Kawhi Leonard (SAS)                          SF      1.3212
  2. Chris Paul (HOU)                                PG     1.3149
  3. Jimmy Butler (MIN)                            SG     1.3041
  4. Paul George (OKC)                              SF      1.2268
  5. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)           SF      1.1679
  6. Anthony Davis (NOP)                         PF      1.1670
  7. John Wall (WAS)                                PG      1.0604
  8. Paul Millsap (DEN)                             PF      1.0122
  9. Hassan Whiteside (MIA)                    C        0.9116

Incidentally, know that there are players that even have higher aggregate scores than Kawhi Leonard, then again, they are not eligible. But for those who are interested in what the aggregate scores of some of the NBA’s most popular players, here they are:

  • Kevin Durant (GSW)                          SF       1.3639
  • James Harden (HOU)                        SG      1.3452
  • Stephen Curry (GSW)                        PG      1.2952
  • Russell Westbrook (OKC)                  PG      1.1587
  • LeBron James (CLE)                           SF       1.0093

As a parting shot, diehard followers of these superstars may protest, but again -- think ‘relevancy’. To be called two-way, you also got to have an acknowledged defensive skill as in a recent All-Defensive. After all, this is an individual recognition. Just as Westbrook and others may have won the MVP without winning the championship, same goes with being the Best Two-Way Player and vice versa.

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Published by Consumer Live

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