moremilk
after 25 games or so of watching kawhi on my own team, I feel I learned a ton more about him than I did in maybe 50-100 games of watching him on the spurs over the years. I thought he was a top 5 at worst player before, now I'm much more comfortable ranking him #2, although I wouldn't argue with somebody who would have him #4 (after AD and KD).

So, after we got this first hand experience at kawhi, where would you rank him in the league on offense, defense and overall and who would be ahead of him in each category? Also, if you had to start a franchise and you can choose a player you can keep for the next 5 years, salary, age and injury history to be taken into account, where would you rank kawhi?

I would have him

#1 defensively (to me it's a no brainer, especially when you consider his offensive load)

#6 on offense (after lebron, curry, Durant, harden, AD). Some may have lilard ahead of him, but
I think kawhi had a slight edge because he can score in more ways, even though lilard is a better shooter).

#2 overall (after LeBron, and about the same level as AD and KD).

#1 to start a franchise. This one is tough, as over the next 2 years, LeBron is definitely better. But in 2 years he'll be 36 or so, hard to envision him being the same force by then. Guys like curry, harden, Durant are too old, even if you don't have kawhi ahead of them now, by 2 years he'll surely be better. From the younger crowd, AD and Giannis are really the only competition. KAT, Embiid, Simmons and the like are unlikely to become the two-way player kawhi is.

AD's health would scare me a little, and Giannis may or may not develop that jumper, but even it does, it would take at least a couple years, probably more. In 4 years, he will probably be better than Kawhi, but it will remain close and Kawhi would have the edge in the early years.

So those are my picks, looking forward to see how you see him.

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JeffB
Lillard is a better shooter? That's debatable.

The last 4 seasons Kawhi has a 48FG%, and for his career has a 38 3P%

In the last 4 seasons Lillard has 43FG% and for his career has a 37 3P%

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In the playoffs Kawhi has a a career 51FG% and 42 3P%

In the playoffs Lillard has a career 40FG% and 34 3P%




Overall though, I agree with these rankings.
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moremilk
JeffB_STR82DVD wrote:
Lillard is a better shooter? That's debatable.

The last 4 seasons Kawhi has a 48FG%, and for his career has a 38 3P%

In the last 4 seasons Lillard has 43FG% and for his career has a 37 3P%

------------------

In the playoffs Kawhi has a a career 51FG% and 42 3P%

In the playoffs Lillard has a career 40FG% and 34 3P%




Overall though, I agree with these rankings.


I think lilard takes harder shots, kawhi is more of a spot up shooter, lilard shoots more off the dribble and from farther away. As a pure shooter, I think lilard is better, but kawhi is a smarter offensive player and has the advantage of height and strength
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RockOnline
I feel comfortable saying Kawhi is definitely the best defender in the league, his defensive awareness is off the charts, he's just on a different level than his peers. When his shot is on, the way he hangs in the air, sizing up the distance from the basket, it's Jordan-esque. It's hard to tell what kind of thoughts are running through his head when it comes down to crunch time. He has a killer mentality, it's just not of the Jordan/KG type, he's more of a hitman/silent assassin type.  The only thing holding Kawhi back is his offensive consistency. At this stage on Jordan's or LeBron's career, no matter the night, they could take over at will. With that said, this is the first year that Kawhi has really had the freedom to do that, so who knows if offensively he could reach that level, but I'm definitely praying for it because when Kyle, or the team for that matter, goes into a lull, we need him to be that guy.

With that said, it's been amazing and eye opening watching a true superstar operate on a game to game basis.


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0nekhmer
I honestly didn't watch a lot of spurs games so I knew very little about his offensive skillset. The defense was expected but he continues to really surprise me offensively. I didn't expect him to have those tight handles and his ability to score at will in the clutch.
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elT
I think top five is fair. He is #3 for me. Was so before the trade. LeBron is in tier of his own. Durant is just an amazing player, really unstoppable scorer and his defense is also really good. There's a valid argument for Curry being #2 as well and you could make a case for Leonard. He is the only guy in the league I'd label a stopper, there hasn't been a perimeter defender like him since Pippen. Now I say top five because you can make a case for Harden, Curry, Durant, Kawhi in any order behind LeBron. And reason is, each of the four has a major advantage over the other three and a little bit of a "knock against" in their game. It is defense with Harden and to a degree with Curry. It is playmaking with Durant and Kawhi. Harden's combo of scoring and playmaking is ridiculous. Curry is the best shooter ever by such a wide margin you'd think he invented shooting. Durant's scoring versatility and skill is historically elite. Kawhi's efficient and versatile scoring in combination with defense is totally WTF.

A step behind the five I'd put Davis and Westbrook. Davis is amazing but I'm worried about his health, he just gets sidelined often with different injuries. Hip, wrist, shoulder...not sure what is going on there. Westbrook still needs to find the balance between insane intensity and smarter basketball and it seems he is beginning to do that this season. Last two years, even though he averaged a triple double, I hold it against him that his team failed to make it out of the first round.

Far lower on the list, there are guys with some insane strengths and gifts but glaring holes in their games and lack of success, the up and coming potential superstars. Giannis and Embiid could rule the league soon enough but there's still a gap between them and the elite guys, both in skill/game and track record. You could add Simmons to that up and coming potential superstar but it might be a bit too early. You could see the hug gap between Giannis and Kawhi last night even though THE INTERNETS will blast you for saying it. Also saw it the other night against Philly when both Embiid and Simmons were diced and gobbled up by Leonard. Yes, those are "just one game" but you don't need a week of standing in the sunshine to figure out it is day time. There are other players I'd take over these youngsters in certain scenarios. There are no such scenarios for true superstars. One of the reasons I get fired up when these guys are called superstars along with likes of Buttler, Paul George, Irving etc.
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LeBronIsYourDaddy
i think Doncic is gonna be a special one.

 I rank Kawhi 2nd. Durant 1st. There it is. LeBron doesnt try defensively anymore. Kawhi does on every play. The gap between his defense and LeBrons is too big for me to put LeBron above him. Kawhi is a game changer there.

 Curry, Harden, Westbrook etc. Those are offensive players of the year not real MVPs in my eyes. There should be an offensive player of the year award so 2 way guys can get what they really deserve.
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