The similarities between Kawhi Leonard and Scottie Pippen are uncanny.
In his fifth season, Leonard has proved himself to be a strong swingman with shutdown defensive skills and regular offensive improvement while playing for a consistent championship contender.
Sound familiar? Pippen thinks so:
Scottie Pippen @ScottiePippen
A lot of people compare Kawhi to me & it makes sense. He's always been elite on D & now he's killing it offensively. Dominant all-around.3/11/2016, 1:28:28 AM
Pippen won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls during their dynastic run in the 1990s. Leonard has one ring thus far, and he nearly had another before his San Antonio Spurs fell in Game 7 of the 2013 NBA Finals.
It’s not just their demeanor on the floor and athletic build that have created comparisons—the numbers are similar as well:
|Scottie Pippen vs. Kawhi Leonard—Stats Through 1st 5 Seasons|
Some former icons bristle at any comparisons to today's era. Oscar Robertson took a jab at Stephen Curry last month when he said the reigning MVP is so successful because today’s defenses are much weaker. And the long-standing argument over who’s better between Jordan and LeBron James seems endless.
But in an era where the old generally anoints itself above the new, Pippen’s comments are a refreshing change.