Two of the premiere defenders of their era, Scottie Pippen and Kawhi Leonard have won Championships, played in All-Star games and have been a part of historic teams.
While both are more than capable offensive players, defense is their calling card. An emphatic block or a crucial steal gets them and their team going.
Their fifth-year regular-season numbers are staggeringly similar:
Leonard (per 100 possessions): 32.8 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.8 steals, 1.5 blocks, 50.6 FG%
Pippen (per 100 possessions): 27.6 points, 10.1 rebounds, 9.2 assists, 2.5 steals, 1.5 blocks, 50.6 FG%
Partly due to playing in a different era, Pippen didn’t shoot three-pointers at the same rate (or efficiency) as Leonard, but Pip was the better playmaker.
Pippen also didn’t score as much as Leonard, but he played with Michael Jordan, who led the NBA in usage during Pippen’s fifth year.
However you slice it, the two are remarkably similar. Pippen recently tweeted that the comparison “makes sense.”
“A lot of people compare Kawhi to me, and it makes sense,” Pippen said. “He’s always been elite on D, and now he’s killing it offensively. Dominant all-around.”