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2020-21 NBA season: Top 5 two-way players in the league right now

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers backs in on Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks
LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers backs in on Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks
ANALYST
Modified 08 Apr 2021
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Executing plays with efficiency on both ends of the floor is something that any NBA player should be able to provide to his team. The 2020-21 NBA season has a number of athletes who are consistently capable of impacting the game on both ends of the court.

5 best two-way players in the NBA right now

It is not common to see players who can be dominant on offense and also impose their presence on defense. However, there are several athletes in the current talent pool that can fill those two boxes.

Without further ado, let's take a look at the five best two-way players in today's NBA.


#5 Jimmy Butler - Miami Heat

Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat
Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat

Jimmy Butler has always been known as a solid defender, and his offensive game is huge for the Miami Heat's aspirations in the 2020-21 NBA season.

Butler has missed 15 of the Miami Heat's 51 games in the current campaign, and the team is 22-14 with him on the court, as opposed to 4-11 without him.

With Butler on the court, the Miami Heat have a 105.6 Defensive Rating, while that goes to 111.8 with him off the court.

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In the 2020-21 NBA campaign, Butler is averaging 21 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals per game.


#4 Kawhi Leonard - LA Clippers

Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers
Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers

Kawhi Leonard remains one of the NBA's premium two-way players. Even though he does not have the same impact on both ends right now, Leonard is still a superstar who is capable of influencing games with his big presence.

Leonard is averaging a team-high 25.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and five assists per game. Even though he is not the same defender he was a few years ago, the 29-year-old is still leading the LA Clippers in Defensive Rating, Defensive Win Shares and Defensive Box Plus/Minus.


#3 LeBron James - LA Lakers

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LeBron James #23 of the LA Lakers
LeBron James #23 of the LA Lakers

LeBron James is arguably the best player in today's NBA and is one of the greatest players of all time. The LA Lakers forward, who is 36 years of age and playing in his 18th season, remains a key player for his team on both sides of the court.

Even though King James had a stretch where he was not playing high-level defense, he has turned it up lately and is now elite on that end of the court.

Of course, James is now part of the best defensive unit in today's NBA, but he remains a great help defender.

He is averaging 25 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game and has the fourth-best Defensive Rating in the NBA, according to Basketball Reference.


#2 Joel Embiid - Philadelphia 76ers

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Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls shoots the ball against Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers
Zach LaVine #8 of the Chicago Bulls shoots the ball against Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers

One of the strongest candidates for the 2020-21 NBA Most Valuable Player award, Joel Embiid is a dominant player on both ends of the floor. Most centers have the frame to dominate the paint on both sides, and their defensive duties are more easily recognizable compared to guards and forwards. However, Embiid has been impressive on both ends.

He is averaging 29.9 points, 11.2 rebounds, a steal and a block per game. On the other end, Embiid has the team's best Defensive Rating (103.6) and the third-best in the NBA.


#1 Giannis Antetokounmpo - Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo blocking a shot
Giannis Antetokounmpo blocking a shot

The reigning two-time MVP and reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Giannis Antetokounmpo, definitely remains the NBA's best two-way player.

Antetokounmpo is dominant on offense, even though he is widely recognized as a one-dimensional player on that end of the court. The 26-year-old has been performing very well on the attacking side this season, as his decision-making has improved.

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Giannis is averaging 28.8 points, 11.4 rebounds, a career-high 6-2 assists, a steal and a block per game, with 57/30/69 shooting splits.

He has the league's eighth-best Defensive Rating and is the best defender among the Milwaukee Bucks' players.

Antetokounmpo's versatility on defense is unique, as he can guard the rival's best scorers and is also an excellent help defender.


Also read: Is Jalen Suggs going to the NBA? Analyzing the Gonzaga star's draft situation

Published 08 Apr 2021, 18:35 IST
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