Cover Photo: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images


Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard are two of the most well-rounded and comparable players in the entire NBA. Most basketball minds agree that they are the second- and third-best players in the world. Durant takes the slight edge offensively, while Kawhi takes the slight edge defensively. Although neither of them gets credit for how talented they are on the other side of the floor.


When comparing them from a fantasy perspective, because of their similar talents, opportunity becomes a huge aspect of this ultimate decision. Again with opportunity, there is a trade-off that cements them close to one another as well. Durant has the far superior group of teammates and system surrounding him, while Kawhi will get more opportunity with the ball and is also playing for his next big, max contract.


Comparing Durant's 2017-18 season to Kawhi's 2016-17 season (his last full year) is a good way to paint this picture. 


Kevin Durant (2017-18): 27.1 points, 3.9 assists, 7.1 rebounds, 1.1 blocks, 1.2 steals. 

Kawhi Leonard (2016-17)25.5 points, 3.5 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 0.7 steals.

Durant holds the slight edge in almost every category aside from blocks. Although for this upcoming season, in terms of fantasy, I think Kawhi is the man to go with.

Kawhi seems better set up to have the best year of his career, while Durant could become complacent, coming off three titles in four years and back-to-back NBA Finals MVPs. Leonard will be the focal point in Toronto and while his team is less talented than Golden State, the Raptors are talented enough that they won't hold him back. Kawhi basically didn't play last season. There have been over a year's worth of question marks around what he is as a player.

People don't know if he will be the Top-3 player he is capable of being or if there will be some regression. He's looked great so far in the preseason and should be motivated more than ever to prove to the world (and the teams in Los Angeles) he's still got it.

I expect them both to have phenomenal years, but if you're looking for a chance at a breakout year above the norm, you have to lean toward Kawhi.


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David Kaestle is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, David also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username davekaestle. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.