It’s not often than an NBA player gets to play with more than one generational talent over the course of their careers, but Danny Green is one of the fortunate few that has. Not only did Green play alongside Tim Duncan in six of the eight seasons he played with the San Antonio Spurs, but was also teammates with Kawhi Leonard, and is currently teammates (for the second time) with LeBron James on the Los Angeles Lakers.
From a leadership and personality standpoint, Duncan and Leonard are pretty similar in the sense that they have a reputation for letting their play do the talking. It’s a little harder to compare James and Leonard, but during Monday’s episode of ESPN’s “First Take,” Green gave it his best shot (via Bleacher Report):
“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 said something similar about James and Leonard in our interview with him earlier in the season:
“At the end of the day, they both make the game easier for the guys around them. That’s the fun aspect of it. But to see two different stars operate in two different ways is fun. It’s fun to watch and fun to play with. Obviously, defensively me and Kawhi grew up together and formed a defensive tandem and he’d grow as an offensive player later on.
“LeBron has always been an offensive player and a facilitator, but they both make the players around them better. Bron was obviously a little older, more mature, more of a leader to start when I came in. It’s just been a lot of fun to see them operate differently but be superstars and lead their teams.”
With the run that Leonard went on with the Toronto Raptors last season, he and James were always going to be compared to each other because they’re superstars that play the same position. Now that they’re on rival teams in the same city, their names almost can’t be said without the other being mentioned.
James and the Lakers came out on top in their last matchup with Leonard and the Clippers, but rivalries aren’t built on regular season games — they’re built in the playoffs. If James and Leonard do their part — and if the season comes back — we should get a Western Conference Finals matchup between both Los Angeles teams for the first time in NBA history, and at that point, there will be plenty of time to definitively compare the two.
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