Lakers' Danny Green Reveals Differences Between Playing with LeBron, Kawhi

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 23, 2020

Los Angeles Clippers' Kawhi Leonard (2) is defended by Los Angeles Lakers' Danny Green (14) during an NBA basketball game between Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 111-106. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)
Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

The Kawhi Leonard-led Los Angeles Clippers and LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers appeared destined for a Western Conference Finals showdown before the NBA suspended its season because of the coronavirus pandemic, and there are few better people equipped to compare the two players than Danny Green.

Green helped Leonard lead the Toronto Raptors to the NBA title last season and has spearheaded the Lakers' impressive current season alongside James. He also played with the King on the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2009-10 and with Leonard on the San Antonio Spurs for seven seasons.

The sharp-shooter appeared on Monday's episode of First Take and compared the two greats:

"Two very great players. A lot of similarities and some differences, but they are extremely serious about their game. They work their body hard, how to take care of their bodies and lead their team. Obviously, Kawhi is not as vocal as LeBron has been over the years. But you could tell last year he started picking it up a lot more and this year he's a lot more vocal than he was ever, and he's starting to learn that. But on the court-wise, LeBron is probably more a facilitator. Kawhi is probably more of, you know, an attack offensive, you know, dissecting the defense type of player. LeBron is the same way. And they're both, you know, very good defenders when they turn it on. They can lock down some guys. They can change the game, impact the game, on both ends of the floor."

Green is an ideal player to feature alongside either.

He can take advantage of James' ability to facilitate he mentioned by finding openings on the floor and drilling three-pointers. He can also do much of the same with Leonard when he attacks and draws multiple defenders, as it was no accident he made a head-turning 45.5 percent of his three-pointers last season in Toronto.

The Lakers are a Western Conference-best 49-14 this season, but they have a long way to go to match the success Green enjoyed with Leonard.

In addition to last season's championship with the Raptors, the pair won the 2014 title with San Antonio and reached the Western Conference Finals four different times. They also came within a single victory of the 2013 title, but James' Miami Heat stunned them in a back-and-forth seven-game series.

James and Leonard guarded each other for extended stretches during those two NBA Finals and would likely do the same in any playoff matchup this season.

This time, though, James would have Green ready to shoot on the outside whenever he needs to pass out of pressure to set up his teammates.