Kawhi Leonard, named NBA Defensive Player of the Year this week, scored 32 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a lopsided 100-73 victory over the LA Clippers in Game 3 of the first round series. The Spurs take a 2-1 series lead. Game 4 is Sunday.
Leonard, who was last year’s Finals MVP for the defending champion Spurs, is placing himself firmly among the elite players in the game–and not just among currently players. The 6’7″ Leonard has a skill set that resembles NBA great and six-time champion Scottie Pippen, who–also at 6’7″–was NBA All-Defensive First Team eight times. That is, when Leonard doesn’t more closely resemble Pippen’s more famous teammate, the GOAT. Leonard plays with great efficiency, going a typical 13-18 from the field in Game 3. He’s just 23. That’s his age, not his number, and it changes in June. But Leonard has the potential to be legitimately compared to guys who liked to wear that number. Yup, Michael Jordan and LeBron James.