Everybody loves scorers and fast paced offenses, as you’ll almost never see a steal, a defensive play or a block on the highlights, but you’ll always see dunks, buzzer beaters, crossovers and shot from distance in every night’s top 10.
Of course, the offense is what makes most of the fans stay up all night all across the globe to watch the greatest athletes in the world pursue their dream of an NBA Championship against other standout performers.
Still, even if offense wins games, it’s been clear that defense wins Championships, so you need to be a very committed and complete player if you want to succeed and thrive in the Association, as everybody can score but just a handful of players are good enough to make a huge impact on both ends of the court.
Recently, Michael Jordan said:
“He’s good. Great player. He’s the best two player in the game right now,” Jordan said.
Today, we’ll rank the best 2-way players in the NBA nowadays, and perhaps the biggest superstars in the Association as well.
Honorable Mention: John Wall
5. Russell Westbrook
Russell Westbrook has always been an underestimated defender, especially because he didn’t try so hard on that end of the court on the early going, but has committed to be one of the most sacrificed guys on his team, being more than willing to put his body on the line on every single play.
So, besides being a walking triple double threat, Westbrook has grown into a very crafty and pesky backcourt defender, improving on a yearly basis when it comes to his lateral movements and his ability to suffocatingly guard the best short guys in the world and force them to make mistakes.
4. Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis has vastly improved his offense since coming out of the University of Kentucky, although his introduction letter for scouts and fans around the world was his outstanding defense, either on the post, below the rim or even on the perimeter.
Davis is a very versatile defender that doesn’t tend to fall for ball fakes and that shifts aggressively, but he’s also become a prolific scorer that’s able to put 30+ on a nightly basis against the fiercest big men in the Association, and it’s just a matter of time before he has that expected MVP campaign with the New Orleans Pelicans.
3. Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant entered the league as a tweener skinny big guy with a lot of upside on offense but not much to show on defense, but his restless work ethic and desire to win have made him blossom into one of the league’s elite rim protectors and shot blockers.
Sadly, the fact that he’s probably the best offensive talent in the league make everybody forget about his recently developed defensive skills, but with his speed, awareness and wingspan, he’s become a huge force on both ends of the court, and probably the main reason why the Golden State Warriors were so dominant yet again this season.
With 1.6 blocks per game and with championship experience we can expect even better Kevin Durant in the future.
2. LeBron James
This one comes as no surprise here, as LeBron James has always been at the top of our lists when it comes to talented players. Over the course of his career, James has shown an incredible basketball IQ with great court awareness and an extremely versatile offensive skill set, although he’s never been a great pull up shooter, but that never stopped him from dominating on the offensive end.
But what makes LeBron James even greatest is the fact that he’s also one of the best defenders in the history of the game, with his great speed and athleticism and ability to read the game. And considering how well built his body is, he often has the upper hand when it comes to matchups, and it’s not a guy you can just get past without paying the price.
1. Kawhi Leonard
Well, Kawhi Leonard has made it, he’s managed to put LeBron James behind him in our two way player list, and if you don’t take our word for it, just listen to Michael Jordan, that stated himself that there’s no best two way player in the world than the San Antonio Spurs small forward.
Kawhi came out of nowhere and became an elite defender on the early going, being able to lock down even LeBron James himself, but the work he’s put on offense over the last couple of seasons to improve from being a horrid shooter to a very consistent and reliable scorer has made him even more terrifying, being both one of the league leaders in scoring and one of the frontrunners to win Defensive Player of the Year Award.