I’m not a fan of the term “two-way player” because of what it implies. Red from Shawshank Redemption summed my feelings up best:
“You know, I don’t have any idea what that means … I know what you think it means, sonny. To me, it’s just a made-up word. A politician’s word, sonny.”
Often “two-way” is used as a phrase to subtly (or not so subtly) deride a more offensive player. To me, you’re either a valuable player or you’re not — Stephen Curry is a valuable player, James Harden is a valuable player, Russell Westbrook is a valuable player, irrespective of their level of defense.
But I know what you think “two-way player” means, sonny. And on that scale, Michael Jordan said during a Q&A at his Flight Camp that he thinks Kawhi Leonard is the best two-way player in the game.
I’m not going to argue that point — Kawhi Leonard is a First Team All-NBA, MVP level player. He’s as good as it gets in the NBA right now.
If you want to define him as a two-way player, great. To me he is just valuable, one of a handful of franchise cornerstone guys you can build an NBA champion around.