Without a doubt, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant are two of the most acclaimed superstar players in the NBA. They are also consistent MVP favorites (when Durant is healthy) and in fact, will be favorites for the MVP Award this season. As a result, many fans and media members have gone back and forth deciding who is the better player that has the most impact on the game.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is a 2-time MVP and reigning Defensive Player of the Year and might be the most dominant regular-season player in the league right now. Kevin Durant is coming off a catastrophic injury but had looked solid during the preseason. When healthy, he is arguably a top-3 player in the world and has a new rival with Giannis Antetokounmpo playing at an elite level.
It is time to decide which player is more dominant in the game and if they can be separated from one another.
Scoring - Kevin Durant
Durant is a beast at attacking the rim and finishing inside. He uses his incredible handles to beat his defender to the rim for the finish, and usually with an And-One. But Durant is one of the game's greatest offensive perimeter players, who can create his own shots and drain tough contested shots in the face of helpless defenders.
Giannis, on the other end, is a liability from the perimeter. In fact, this is a glaring weakness in his game that needs to be addressed if he wants to take his team to the next level in the playoffs and possibly win the championship. Giannis is better inside, mainly due to his height and length. Giannis is simply unguardable down low, and can seemingly throw it down over defenders with ease.
Giannis is a beast down low, but his inefficiency from the perimeter gives Durant, one of the most complete offensive players ever, the advantage.
Athleticism - Giannis Antetokounmpo
In terms of pure athleticism, Giannis Antetokounmpo has to take the edge. Durant is very tall and uses his height to get buckets over any defender, but Giannis is simply stronger and faster. The Greek Freak is unlike any athlete we have ever seen before because he has the most perfect NBA build in history. He can dunk over anybody, attack the paint and absorb contact, and move across the court with a few dribbles.
Kevin Durant is listed at 6'10" tall and weighs 240 lbs. Always a slim player, he never had a physical advantage over opponents other than his height. Giannis is 6'11" and weighs 242 lbs, but can take any punishment down low. He is stronger than Durant and has more freakish athleticism. Kevin Durant is a terrific athlete and his height gives him an advantage as a shooter, but Giannis edges him.
Defense - Giannis Antetokounmpo
As great as Kevin Durant is on offense, he can be almost as valuable as a defensive player. Durant has the speed and athleticism to guard smaller defenders, although he struggles with bigger players due to physical weakness. Durant is much bigger and stronger than when he first came into the league, but he will never be a powerhouse player which means he is limited to defending 3 positions.
On the other hand, Giannis is a scary defender. He can be the most dominant defensive player in the league, as he has the length to block shots and also the quick feet to stay with guards. When defending bigger players, Giannis has the height and length to stop them from easy finishes around the basket. Giannis is already one of the top defensive players in the game and will be gunning for the DPOY award once again.
Clutch - Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant has come up in the clutch many times before. Durant's ability to knock down shots from anywhere on the court means he is unstoppable on offense and can deliver in any clutch situation. Whether in the regular season or the playoffs, Durant is consistently one of the top-ranked clutch players of all-time. Durant has proved he can be a big-time shot-maker when needed most as evidenced by his 2 Finals MVP Awards.
On the other end, Giannis cannot be consistent from the perimeter and this hurts his ability to take and make clutch shots. Not to mention, Giannis is still getting his feet wet as a superstar in this league. In possibly a matter of years, or sooner, Giannis should become a more dominant clutch performer. For now, Durant takes this one thanks to his shot-creating ability.
Leadership - Even
Both Durant and Giannis are the best players on their teams and lead by their work ethic and dominance on the court. But they still have some ways to go to be a vocal leader like LeBron James or Chris Paul are, for example. Durant has become a much more effective leader and seems to be better at holding other players accountable. On the other end, Giannis will start becoming a more effective leader as he gains more experience in the league.
Right now, both players are extremely talented superstars who prefer to lead by their play on the court. As a result, this is even.
Basketball IQ - Even
Both players have high basketball I.Q. because they have been the best players on their teams throughout their careers.
The fact that Durant can lead to a bucket on every possession, either by scoring or assisting, is a testament to his supremely high basketball I.Q. He is a gifted passer, an incredible scorer, and an entire offensive system on his own. Along with James Harden, Durant is one of the most dominant scorers we have ever seen. Giannis is also gifted with a high basketball I.Q., and he can do everything on the floor on any given night.
It is tempting to give the edge to Durant due to his scoring ability, but Giannis already has 2 MVPs and his I.Q. is a major part of that. This one is even.
Impact - Even
On both ends of the floor, their impact is very close. Giannis is a monster offensively and is as good defensively. Durant is simply the most unstoppable offensive force since Kobe Bryant. So who has a greater impact?
Giannis has a near-perfect overall game, including an ability to grab boards and be a dominant defensive presence. He is one of the best two-way players in the game and can do everything on the floor including setting up teammates or blocking shots when he doesn't score.
Durant, on the other end, has a greater impact offensively in terms of putting points on the board for his team in a variety of ways. He can be a stopper when he wants to be, and a very good playmaker. But what Kevin Durant does best is get buckets, and that is enough to make this category equal with Giannis Antetokounmpo. Durant's 2 Finals MVPs play a factor here as well, although Giannis never had the type of help that Durant had with Golden State.
1 on 1 Game - Kevin Durant
As good as Giannis is one on one under the basket, Durant is arguably the best one on one player in the world right now besides James Harden. He can beat you off the dribble, get to the basket with ease, and nail deep threes in your face. Durant is a master at breaking ankles and leaving defenders in the dust, so this one is not close.
Giannis relies on his length to score around the basket, but his lack of a consistent jump shot renders him ineffective when the paint is clogged. Giannis is still a superstar player at beating his man one on one, but Durant is simply one of the best ever and this can't be denied.
Career - Kevin Durant
Giannis Antetokounmpo has had a sensational career and might be in the Hall of Fame already if he were to retire today. 2 back-to-back MVP Awards and a Defensive Player of the Year Award looks good next to his 4 All-Star and 4 All-NBA appearances. The Greek Freak is slowly making his stamp on the NBA and will soon be the face of the league once LeBron James retires.
But Kevin Durant has 2 rings, 2 Finals MVPs, 2 MVPs, 4 scoring titles, and a total of 10 All-Star appearances and 9 All-NBA teams. Durant has been in the NBA longer, has dominated with 2 franchises, and could very well win another ring over the next few years with Brooklyn. Giannis has time to match Durant's all-time great career, but Durant has the edge here and it isn't close.
Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Kevin Durant 2-4