Which Player Do You Take?
These two players are two of the very best in the league. They play for great teams, they have made a name for themselves, and they have both had championship success. The best part about this comparison is that without putting names on either at first, you can’t go wrong. The whole point of taking the name away at first is so that you don’t have any judgment going in. I’ll ask you this, who would you rather have between these two guys if you were starting a team?
Career: 357 games, 15.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.1 apg.
1-time All-Star, 1-time NBA Champion, 3- time All-Defensive
2016-2017 Stats: 24 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 3.1 apg
Career: 421 games, 18.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.3 apg
2-time All-Star, 1-time NBA Champion, 2-time All-NBA
2016-2017 Stats: 21.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.0 apg
Now, Player B has played in more games, but these two players are still very comparable. If you didn’t guess who the two players are, well don’t worry it’s tough to tell. Player A is Kawhi Leonard and Player B is Klay Thompson. People will most likely buy in to the idea that Leonard is head and shoulders above Thompson, but the numbers say otherwise. Leonard is probably the better player this season and maybe even as far back as last season, but Thompson has a very impressive resume. Now that the Spurs are looking much different and Leonard has had to be “the guy” this season more than any other previously, his stats are bound to be a little bit better, and Thompson isn’t going to touch the ball any more than he did in seasons past with the addition of Kevin Durant. With that being said, the question of who you would rather have between the two, if you were starting a franchise, is still a decently tough call.
Leonard can shoot the three-ball, 39 percent for his career, but Thompson is known as a sniper from the long range (42 percent for his career). Both players are known for being great on the defensive side of the ball, but Leonard is the better defender. Kawhi has a defensive rating of 98 per 100 possessions for his career compared to Klay’s 107. Kawhi is also averaging 3 steals per 100 possessions for his career compared to Klay’s 1.4.
So, with each player having an advantage on the other, it comes down to who is the better playmaker and that is way too close to call. Kawhi has a career assist percentage of 11.1, while Klay has 11.2. I’ll leave this one up to you, but I know which direction I would go if I was choosing and the player I would want on my team is Player A, Kawhi Leonard.