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Kevin Durant vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo: Who Is The Best Power Forward In The NBA?

Kevin Durant vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo: Who Is The Best Power Forward In The NBA?

Without a doubt, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant are the two most acclaimed forwards in the NBA right now. They are easily MVP favorites this season and are regarded as two of the top-five players in the league. 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.

Kevin Durant is continuing his dominant streak following his Achilles injury and has a new rival with Giannis Antetokounmpo playing at an elite level and LeBron James getting close to 37 years of age. 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.

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

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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 not even big men have a chance at stopping him around the rim. 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. This season, KD is shooting 51.9% from the field, 37.0% from three, and 88.6% from the stripe.

Giannis, on the other end, cannot drain outside shots as Durant can. In fact, this is the only “weakness” in his game that brings him a notch below Durant as an all-around scorer. The Greek Freak is shooting 54.0% from the field, 27.6% from three, and 69.0% from the stripe. Giannis is better inside, mainly due to his height and length, 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 definitely 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 to absorb contact, and move across the court with a few dribbles. We have seen The Greek Freak get from one end to the court to the other in only two dribbles before.

Kevin Durant is listed at 6'10" tall and weighs 240 lbs. A finesse player with a slender physique, 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, giving the reigning NBA the champion in this category.


Defense - Giannis Antetokounmpo

Kevin Durant is underrated as a defender because he 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 successfully at best.

On the other hand, Giannis is a scary defender. He might 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 Defensive Player of the Year 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 performances in back-to-back Finals against the Cavaliers in 2017 and 2018.

On the other end, Giannis cannot be consistent from the perimeter and this hurts his ability to take and make clutch shots at times. Giannis definitely has the mentality of a clutch player, and he will continue to improve in that regard. But he is not proficient from the free-throw line or the perimeter, and that means Durant can get a bucket at any time. Giannis is certainly clutch, but Durant is better.


Leadership - Even

Both Durant and Giannis are the best players on their teams and lead by their work ethic and dominance on the court. As both superstars go through the years, they are getting more vocal and effective at holding their teammates accountable. The Brooklyn Nets are not where they are this season if Durant does not carry them at times, and that goes for the Milwaukee Bucks as well.

Giannis overcame the massive hurdle in his career by carrying his team to the Finals and winning a championship with his original team, something Durant never did. But Durant is definitely a leader because he might be the most unstoppable offensive force in the game today. This one is even, although Giannis is becoming a special leader.


Basketball I.Q. - 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. Kevin Durant is one of the most dominant scorers we have ever seen, and he is often in the conversation of greatest scorer ever with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant as a result.

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. Even without a consistent jumper, Giannis is averaging 28.0 PPG this season.

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.


1 on 1 Game - Even

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. 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, and he is a better one-on-one defender than the Brooklyn Nets superstar. What they bring in one-on-one situations is different, but this category is too close to distinguish.


Career - Even

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 5 All-Star, 5 All-NBA appearances, and 4 All-Defensive appearances. Of course, last year’s championship and Finals MVP has already placed Giannis among the top-50 players ever.

Kevin Durant has 2 rings, 2 Finals MVPs, 1 MVP, 4 scoring titles, and a total of 11 All-Star appearances and 9 All-NBA teams. Obviously, Durant’s All-Star and All-NBA appearances are much higher than Giannis’, along with the 4 scoring titles, but he has been in the league longer. Some might even say that Antetokounmpo’s championship is more valuable than Durant’s two rings because of the difficulty it required to achieve it. Since Durant has more individual accolades and Giannis won a title with his original team (along with DPOY), their career has to be even so far.


Final Score

Kevin Durant vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo 2-2

There is little to separate between the two superstars because they might be the most talented players in the game today. No disrespect to Stephen Curry, who is the greatest shooter alive, but he does not bring physical dominance to the game like the two forwards. Nikola Jokic is the best center in the game, but he is not quite on the level of Durant and Giannis as a raw talent. Of course, LeBron is past his prime despite playing at an MVP level. Giannis and Durant are almost indistinguishable as dominant players because the former is the most athletic player in the game with incredible defense while the Nets star can score at an elite level, unlike anyone we have seen since a prime Kobe or Jordan. 

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