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Michael Jordan calls Kawhi Leonard the best two-way player in NBA

San Antonio Spurs v Golden State Warriors - Game One

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 14: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the San Antonio Spurs stands on the court during Game One of the NBA Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on May 14, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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I’m not a fan of the term “two-way player” because of what it implies. Red from Shawshank Redemption summed my feelings up best:

“You know, I don’t have any idea what that means ... I know what you think it means, sonny. To me, it’s just a made-up word. A politician’s word, sonny.”

Often “two-way” is used as a phrase to subtly (or not so subtly) deride a more offensive player. To me, you’re either a valuable player or you’re not — Stephen Curry is a valuable player, James Harden is a valuable player, Russell Westbrook is a valuable player, irrespective of their level of defense.

But I know what you think “two-way player” means, sonny. And on that scale, Michael Jordan said during a Q&A at his Flight Camp that he thinks Kawhi Leonard is the best two-way player in the game.


I’m not going to argue that point — Kawhi Leonard is a First Team All-NBA, MVP level player. He’s as good as it gets in the NBA right now.

If you want to define him as a two-way player, great. To me he is just valuable, one of a handful of franchise cornerstone guys you can build an NBA champion around.