Skip Bayless outrageously claims that Kawhi Leonard is the closest thing we’ve seen to Michael Jordan and that he’s a better shooter than Kobe Bryant.
Michael Jordan was never really much of a jump shooter in his early days in the league as he relied more on his athleticism to get buckets. However, as he got older, he admitted that he needed to operate in the mid-range more often to help maintain himself on the offensive end of the floor as he wasn’t as proficient at finishing at the rim any longer.
For as good as Michael Jordan was in the mid-range from 1996-2003, Kobe Bryant has an edge over him, not only in this department, but shooting overall. Kobe was undoubtedly a better shooter from beyond the arc than Jordan ever was and it can be argued that his mid-range game was the best the league had ever seen.
Skip Bayless however, decided to throw this all out the window by giving Kawhi Leonard the edge over Kobe Bryant in a certain aspect of his game.
Skip Bayless talks about Kawhi Leonard in comparison to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
The way that Kawhi Leonard turned himself from a defensive specialist to a go-to bucket-getter is one of the most impressive things in modern NBA history. Comparing him to Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant is fair to a certain extent given their proficiency with the middy. Skip Bayless however, has taken it to another level.
— Skip Bayless (@RealSkipBayless) September 6, 2021
Now, Kawhi Leonard does have better shooting percentage than Kobe Bryant from almost everywhere on the floor but this just goes to show how difficult the shots Kobe was used to taking. Leonard, going right, is an automatic bucket but the Lakers legend had the best footwork of all time coupled with a knack for making the toughest shots in NBA history.
Now, when it comes to him being the closest thing to Michael Jordan: no. There isn’t any need to go on a long spiel on why Bayless is wrong about this but the closest facsimile to Jordan was Kobe Bryant in terms of player-type, mentality, ‘clutchness’, and everything in between.