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Is Kawhi Leonard a top 10 NBA player?

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by TheresTheDagger, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. Zergling

    Zergling Member

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    Can't wait to see Harden vs Kawhi the next couple of games. If Harden explodes over a team that's destroying the league right now, this will surely help his MVP chances
     
  2. dachuda86

    dachuda86 Member

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    He's a top 10 player.. people just don't recognize a good player when he isn't hyped by the media and hotdogging around. He is going to be finals MVP again.
     
  3. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    Right on Iggy. And right generally on not a ton of AMAZING wing defenders.

    Look, I think he's a great great player and amazing defender. And the Spurs clearly have great defense overall. But the Bucks are also one of the top 5 defensive teams. Top 10 teams also include the Hawks, Blazers, Pacers, I wouldn't say any of them have amazing one on one defenders.

    My point is only that defense is such a team effort. Scheme, effort, then capabilities.

    if I'm judging a player based on his individual skill-sets, I DEFINITELY value their defensive capabilities ... but it's not at the top of list.

    Certainly people have soured on someone like Melo over the years. That's not JUST because he's a zero defensively... it's also because he is selfish and inefficient offensively. Durant isn't a great defender either, but his offense is so amazing he is unquestionably (when healthy) a better player than Kawhi.

    I'm just talking about relative value.

    Take Harden. His abilities defensively are less important than his effort defensively. I value his willingness to actively and consistently defend, individually and as part of the scheme, more than his actual capabilities to do so.

    Kawhi gets super recognition because he's good at all of that - willing to defend, always bringing energy, super smart with regard to scheme, versatile, and oh btw a REALLY F'ING GOOD defender from a pure capability perspective. And now, finally, he is putting it together offensively a bit.

    In any case, I'd find it VERY hard to believe that if you redrafted the entire NBA that Kawhi would be a top 10 pick.... and that's even factoring in how young he is.
     
  4. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    IMO, Kawhi would definitely be drafted in the top 10. A team like the Spurs, Rockets or some other analytical team would take him.

    Offense is also about scheme. Do the Hawks, Raptors, and Mavs have top 10 offensive players?
     
  5. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member

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    Not even close to the top 10.
     
  6. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    I'm disappointed in you
     
  7. Easy

    Easy Boban Only Fan
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    So is he going to guard Harden tonight? Is Ariza going to guard him or guard Green?
     
  8. BONIERO1576

    BONIERO1576 Member

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    Good offense always beats good defense. We all have a memory of Leonard doing a good job guarding Lebron in the finals. He still scored 28 points a game of 55%+ shooting. It's a valuable skill and every team needs it but no one considered Battier or Artest top ten players when they were shut down defenders.
     
  9. Mr. Clutch

    Mr. Clutch Contributing Member

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    Two points:

    1) The Spurs won and Kawhi was the FMVP.
    2) Kawhi is pretty good on offense too
     
  10. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    All those teams have multiple above above average offensive players.

    All of the Hawks 5 starters have a true shooting percentage of 56% or higher. Kyle Korver's true shooting percentage is 69.9%... and it's on nearly 600 shot attempts... it's crazy. Zac Lowe still thinks Dirk can be a #2 offensive threat on a championship team - the same Zac Lowe that thinks Kawhi is a top 10 player... so yeah, they have some offensively skilled players...

    Scheme and total team effort and buy-in, is way more important defensively than offensively. Offensive scheme comes down to pick and roll or isolation half the time ... even with the Spurs.

    Today's Spurs are basically a better version of the Pistons that won a decade ago. A LOT of above above average, smart players, exceptionally coached, putting forth maximum effort at the appropriate times. That's why they win. Not because Kawhi is a top 10 player... he's close, but he isn't

    The list has been done, but again I just can't see any GM taking Kawhi over the following, ESPECIALLY if we are talking about drafting for say a 7 game series, as opposed to the rest of their careers, where age becomes a factor:

    Harden, Westbrook, Curry, Lebron, Davis, CP3, Durant (if healthy), Cousins, Gasol, Aldridge, Griffin, Paul George (health aside), ...

    I think you can argue:
    - Melo (yes, selfish, liability defensively, but he was fantastic last eyar and injured this year)
    - Jimmy Butler (pretty similar player)
    - Klay Thompson - a bit one dimensional offensively, but has vastly improved there and is a pretty solid defender himself
    - Love/Bosh, when healthy (we know their limitations, but Kawhi isn't a number 1 guy either... let's see what he does on the Timberwolves, lol)
    - Vucevic/Drummond - young, special bigs
    - Duncan/Parker - yeah, his own teammates. stats aren't there with Kawhi, but I'd feel better building a team to win a 7 game series around either of those 2 than I would around Kawhi....
    - Wall/Teague/Lowry/Conley/Lillard - still more comfortable giving these guys the ball in the final minutes, but clearly not as good defenders
    - Dwight - if healthy

    This isn't to hate on Kawhi. He's probably at or near the top of the above list. And if you exclude Durant/George than he is inching close to that top 10.

    Also, to be fair, it's not like Kawhi ever puts in a full season either. He's never played more than 66 games.

    To be fair, Finals MVP doesn't mean much when it always goes to the team that won. Kawhi wasn't the best player on the court. The guy he was guarding was. That's not a riff on Kawhi, or anybody else, but it was a team win. The Finals MVP was Pops... as often is the case.

    Definitely, and getting better. Look, if Kawhi keeps up his current pace, we're not arguing top 10, we're thinking top 5??

    This article already posted is interesting: http://www.48minutesofhell.com/kawhi...ovichs-monster

    It points as much to Kawhi's emergence as the importance of fit and scheme. The pivot point seems to be the return of Splitter as much as anything... not because of Splitter's amazing skill set, but because of how he balances that roster.

    Again, I'm not donwplaying Kawhi also becoming much better as the season has progressed, but I am noting right now, Kawhi benefits from the Spurs system more than most other top 10 players "benefit" from their systems.... excepting when you note that their systems were built specifically for them. Like Harden... is he benefiting from 3's and Rims and FTs? Of course, except he's the reason for that system as much as anything. Especially offensively, the rest of the top 10 guys have proven, consistently, over multiple years, the ability to thrive regardless of system.

    Kawhi is just starting to do that, and if he was randomly traded to the TWolves, I have no freaking clue what he'd do offensively. I know almost exactly what the rest of the top 10 players would do offensively (and frankly, defensively) regardless of what team they are on.

    So we'll see with Kawhi
     
    #131 JayZ750, Apr 8, 2015
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2015
  11. hoopster325

    hoopster325 Member

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    ^

    I'd take Kawhi over Blake Griffin and maybe even over Paul if I were building a franchise.

    They're in year 4 of Blake & Chris Paul, and now DeAndre Jordan whose likely a 3rd team all NBA player and their biggest accomplishment to date was knocking off the Warriors last year in round one during the Sterling-saga.

    For a team that year in-year out has two top 10 players, they sure never seem to get anywhere.
     
  12. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    The Clippers had a woeful bench last year. The Spurs are always looked at as aging guys with no talent. Let's be clear, Duncan, Parker, Manu, Kawhi are all top players... just because they aren't "top 10" doesn't mean the Spurs have no talent.

    Add the Pops-Rivers difference. Rivers is an overrated coach... or at a minimum nowhere near Pops class. I don't like to oversell coaching, but switch Rivers with Pops last year (or any year) and there's no way the Spurs win that title.

    Finally, situation and matchup. The Clippers lost in 6 to the Thunder last year. The last 4 games were decided by 6, 2, 1 and 6 points, respectively.

    The Thunder happen to also have two top 10 players, both of which when healthy are probably ahead of the Clippers top 2 guys. The Spurs beat the Blazers (clearly overmatched, and a bad matchup for Blazers... lucky for them, Rockets would have been a harder matchup), and then face the Thunder without Ibaka for 2 games. They go 2-2 against the Thunder with Ibaka back, winning the second and the series in overtime.

    yeah, the Spurs did it, there's no taking that back and nitpicking. if I'm nitpicking, I can also argue they really should have won the year before, but for some horrible last second play. But I can also randomly hypothesize that if the Spurs face the Thunder in the 2nd round and the Clippers face the Blazers, things might have turned out a lot differently.

    Kawhi vs. Griffin is arguable.

    I don't think Kawhi vs. Paul is...
     
  13. t_mac1

    t_mac1 Contributing Member

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    So you take Leonard over a prime McGrady and Yao? or prime KG? Those guys didn't do much
     
  14. don grahamleone

    don grahamleone Contributing Member

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    2 points so far... very impressive.
     
  15. Outlier

    Outlier Member

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    Lol, where were you when he scored 20+ in the first half of several games?

    Plus, he's taken six shots. Obviously they're feeding the hot hand right now and trying to get Parker in rhythm.
     
  16. don grahamleone

    don grahamleone Contributing Member

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    Top 10 players don't shy away. And if he got 20+ in the first half of a game that means he had a very mediocre 2nd half. Top 10 players usually put 2 good halves together and they add up to 30+... something he's never ever done because he's not that special.
     
  17. Outlier

    Outlier Member

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    Why do you make comments like this when you dont watch them play? He didnt play those second halves. Dude. Youre terrible. Look up the facts next time.
     
  18. sew

    sew Member

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    rekt.
     
  19. SeekingAlpha

    SeekingAlpha Member

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    You really think any top 10 player would disobey Pop and try to 'get his'?

    Pop saw Terry on Parker and Ariza and Leonard. Leonard's a humble dude and did the right thing. If Leonard acted out, Pop would have sat his ass, and Spurs probably still would've won tonight.
     

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