Giannis Antetokounmpo demonstrated last season that he's one of the top dogs in the NBA. When everybody doubted him, the Greek Freak took care of business, got to work in the 2021 NBA playoffs, beat impressive rivals and reached the Finals, where the Phoenix Suns looked like the favorites in the eyes of many.
Antetokounmpo beat the Arizonans in six games, winning his first NBA championship and Finals MVP. Ever since that moment, his name has gotten more respect among the best players in the league, and this season, the NBA world is debating if the 27-year-old is the best talent in the league right now.
Kevin Durant is the player who gets this title more often than not. Seeing how well both players are performing this campaign, people started debating who the best player is between KD and Giannis. Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett joined this trend on the first episode of SHOWTIME's KG Certified.
The former Boston Celtics teammates sat down to discuss a variety of topics, including Anthony Davis' struggles with the Los Angeles Lakers and who is better between Ja Morant and Luka Doncic.
At some point, KG asked Pierce who the best player is between Durant and Giannis, with The Truth siding with the Greek player (19:07).
"I feel like Giannis is the most unstoppable player in the league. This is not a knock against Embiid, Bron, Durant, but I just feel like the way he plays the game, he just goes and automatically gets you 25 every night. There's no way of stopping him. He goes down the lane and dunks, he's physical... Think of this: when he has when he got 25/6/11, that's a light night for him. Think about that."
KG also praised Giannis and his impact on the game, but when it comes to the best player in the league, he goes with Kevin Durant. When Pierce asked him if Giannis is the best player in the NBA, Garnett replied:
"No with KD in the league."
After that, Pierce pictured a hypothetical scenario, explaining that KD couldn't stop Giannis if they went one-on-one. But, for Garnett, it was the other way around.
"KD has a better chance of stopping Giannis. Giannis is younger, I got it. I'mma take better offense over better defense any day."
They engaged in a fun back and forth trying to defend their respective points, but nobody was willing to change their minds. While Pierce sided with Giannis' defense, Garnett went with Durant's offensive skills.
These players have gone at it in the playoffs, with Giannis beating Durant last season. That wasn't a one-on-one duel, but Antetokounmpo struggled every time he had to face KD. PJ Tucker, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton offered their help to stop the 2014 NBA MVP, but he still recorded big performances in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.
We could see this duel again in the postseason, where Antetokounmpo and Durant could settle this issue once and for all. These two competed for the MVP award until Durant went down with an injury, showing how great they are right now. Who is the best player? That seems to be a subjective answer, as Pierce and Garnett just showed us.