The 75 greatest NBA players of the 2010s, ranked

Stephen Curry, James Harden
Stephen Curry, James Harden / Ezra Shaw/GettyImages
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5) Kawhi Leonard

When Kawhi Leonard was selected 15th overall by the Indiana Pacers, few thought that he would be more than a role player. However, he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs on draft night and he quickly turned out to be far better than anyone would have guessed. They worked to fix his broken jump shot, resulting in him immediately becoming an above-average 3-point shooter, draining 37.5% of his threes through his first three seasons.

That development turned him into more than a three-and-d wing, with him being able to attack closeouts and knock down pullup jumpers, though defense was his calling card early on. He made second-team all-defense in his third season and won Defensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons as his offensive game continued to evolve. He won Finals MVP after leading the Spurs in scoring during the 2014 NBA Finals.

Not only that but his scoring jumped nearly five points in the 2015-16 season. That resulted in him making his first all-star team; he would make another the following season and lead the Spurs to the Western Conference Finals but they were beaten after an early injury to Kawhi Leonard. 

He would play just nine games the following year, then forced the Spurs to trade him in the summer of 2019. He was dealt to the Toronto Raptors, where he managed to lead them to a championship in his only season there before closing out the decade with the Los Angeles Clippers.

That makes his averages of 17.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in 467 games a bit misleading. Making three all-star teams, two all-NBA first teams, winning two major awards, two championships, and two Finals MVPs are more reflective of how good he was during the 2010s.