The Best Player in the NBA

NZBenny
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The Best Player in the NBA

I've always been interested by the bias towards offense when talking about the NBA's alpha, and this year is the perfect example of this. The top player this year is either LeBron or Steph in most peoples eyes, with Russ or KD getting a plug if you want to be a little left field. This is also a pretty decent short-list of the best offensive players in the league who dont absolutely suck on defense. However, while I'm not sure that Kawhai Leonard is necessarily the best player in the league, I think there is a pretty good argument that he is at least better than Steph if you think about things back to front.

Leonard is clearly one of the two elite defenders in the NBA, and since he has won the last two DPOY's it wouldn't be controversial to say he is number 1. Add to that a big time offensive game in which he can shoot at an elite rate from range, score in iso and in the post and run some PnR. He may not be an elite playmaker, but to be fair neither is KD and that has never dinged his offensive standing. Plus Leonard carried the Spurs offense this season, and continued to get his against the Thunder when they locked in defensively and slowed Aldridge.

My point is, is the difference between Steph and Kawhai's defense (absolutely elite vs. at its best average) really less than the difference between their offensive impact (absolutely elite vs. great). To me clearly Leonard has the better all-round package, so why isn't he considered a better player.

Taking this methodology, there aren't many players who I would place over him. Westbrook is amazing attacking the basket, but he cant space the floor and he defends at a lower level than his physical tools should allow. To me, its just KD and LeBron who exceed his two way impact, and neither is lightyears ahead. LeBron may not have a shot anymore, but he can still D up with the best of them and his playmaking is really next level. Plus, we all know he can still be an effecive first option of offense. Meanwhile, KD is probably the most lethal offensive player in the league, and if the Thunder played more lineups with shooting around him I think we would see historic numbers from him given his ability to drive, shoot and post up. His defense is also very good these days (which I'm glad was finally highlighted by the media in the Warriors series). He has the quickness of a wing but the length of a BIG big, and his strength is no longer an achilles heel as it was earlier in his career. It may not be at Kawhai level, but its not that far below.

What is your take?


Andv1 Waiting
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It all depends on what you would want your team to be...

It all depends on the team you want to build for example Curry doesn't need to be great defensively if the team covers it and curry plays to an acceptable standard,Westbrook gives you boards(better than some bigs),dimes and points and so on..Kawhi gets assigned the teams best player defensively and scores at a reasonable clip also..

But if I was a GM i would build around one of Two players your Franchise Big or a Franchise level Point guard.

If it was PG I would go Russell Westbrook...

and

If it was Big I would choose either KAT or Cousins(with a rim protecting and floor spacing pf)

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