Finding comparisons for every active player on the Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, and Danny Green (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, and Danny Green (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Pascal Siakam (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /

An elite frontcourt

Serge Ibaka: Derrick Coleman
First off, it’s important to notice where Serge Ibaka is as a player. He’s light years from where he was seven years ago.

His offensive game has grown possibly more than anyone on the team other than Pascal Siakam’s explosion this season. With that said, Ibaka (this season), is a force to be reckoned with in the post. His combined efficiency and range have turned him into a legitimate offensive option for the Raptors if he’s needed to pour in points.

Coleman was the rare type of guy in the 90’s and early 00’s that could both intimidate defensively in the post and stretch the floor offensively. In his prime, he was a dynamic rebounder and a 20 point per game scorer (something Ibaka likely will never achieve), but as his career grew, he became a periphery option, something akin to where Ibaka sits now.

Pascal Siakam: Andrei Kirilenko
Alright, I’m cheating here: a few months ago I publicly compared Siakam to Kirilenko – so this angle is nothing new. But, the comparison has become legitimate over the last three months since that article.

Outside of Kirilenko’s defensive impact (which came in the form of many, many steals and blocks), Siakam is performing much like AK47’s prime years. Siakam is now garnering All-Star votes without a narrative being driven by the media.

What the Raptors have is unique in that Siakam provides a bona-fide frontcourt playmaker. Something so often coveted by playoff teams that they take swing after swing in the draft and free agency looking for such a player. His footwork around the basket opens up the floor for his shooting teammates, and he has a growing chemistry with both Serge Ibaka and Greg Monroe around the hoop. We can only assume that once Jonas Valanciunas returns, Siakam will pick up where the two left off when they share the floor.

Kawhi Leonard: Metta World Peace (Ron Artest)
Let’s be clear: comparing Leonard to another player is nearly impossible. You obviously can’t compare him to Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan or LeBron James, but you also can’t compare him to your run of the mill team leader either.

He’s a special, generational talent whose ultimate peak is still unknown. He’s just 27 years old, entering his prime with a kind of force and precision that is rarely seen in the league.

However, stripping away all the side notes and specificities of Leonard, we can draw a few conclusions to make a comparison possible. He’s strong, he’s passionate, and he’s effective.

Metta World Peace, before the infamous “Malice in the Palace” debacle of early 2004, was well on his way to becoming a perennial All-Star, using these same qualities as a driving force. He had the defense – it’s why he was drafted, after all – and his offense was growing. Like Leonard, he eventually found a jump-shot and quickly became a force on both ends.

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The sky was the limit – much like our own Kawhi Leonard. Sadly for MWP, injuries and memories of the incident began to plague his career, and he never quite made the next step as a scorer. If he did, however, he’d be much like what we’re seeing from Leonard: pure strength on both sides.