I have briefly touched on the topic of the defensive prowess both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George possess. We all now know they both will be wearing the same team jersey for the 2019-20 season after joining the Clippers. Yet, I do wonder when was the last time we have seen such formidable forces on defense combine their talents? In Chicago, about twenty years ago give or take, we witnessed Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen wreck havoc defensively and it led to multiple titles.
Michael Jordan won Defensive Player of the Year in 1988 as a shooting guard. Kawhi won the same award twice as small forward. We recognize MJ for his greatness offensively, but sometimes fail to credit his insanely good defense. With Kawhi, he was a late bloomer who held defense as his greatest asset and we all knew that. He is a defensive legend even prior to his career ending.
Pippen was never the number one option with MJ obviously but that worked out to his and the Bulls advantage, because he was able to give his all to the defensive side of the ball. He was chosen to 10 all-defensive teams and even led league in steals one year. Sounds very familiar if you slow down and look. Paul George just won the steals crown and has already been named to several all-defensive teams. He even was in contention for Defensive Player of the Year this past season.
Both Kawhi and PG are in their prime. I look forward to seeing them mesh this year and lead the Clippers to the playoffs. Defense wins championships. Right?