Thick As Thieves: Kawhi Leonard And Jimmy Butler Share Unique NBA Stat

Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler are two young NBA All-Stars entering the prime of their careers. Individual accolades aside, those two can claim something that no other active players in the NBA can: they’re the only two players with more steals than fouls in their careers.

Kawhi Leonard: 705 steals, 697 fouls

Kawhi is the bedrock for the San Antonio Spurs. Just 26 years old, he’s already a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, NBA Champion, and NBA Finals MVP. With Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli gone, these aren’t your daddy’s Spurs. But coach Gregg Popovich hasn’t accrued 20 consecutive winning seasons in the NBA (Phil Jackson is the only other coach to do so) by accident.

The correlation between Tim Duncan’s tenure with the Spurs and their year-in, year-out success can’t be ignored, but it’s puppet-master Popovich who is ultimately responsible for the team’s enduring success.

Kawhi Leonard is the closest thing to a LeBron-stopper that exists in the NBA, and under Coach Pop’s tutelage, Leonard is on his way to become one of the all-time greats to ever play in the league.

Jimmy Butler: 583 steals, 567 fouls

Jimmy Butler was part of a huge trade this offseason where Chicago shipped Butler and the 16th overall pick to Minnesota for Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn, and the number 7 overall pick. But in a summer of seismic shifts around the league, 28-year-old Butler’s departure from Chicago got lost in the noise generated by Chris Paul joining the Rockets, ‘Melo going to Oklahoma City, and the main event; the Kyrie Irving – Isaiah Thomas trade.

Butler has been elevating his game every season he’s been in the league; look no further than the NBA’s Most Improved Player award he won in 2015 for proof. With six years of NBA ball under his belt, Bulter has made the All-Star team each of his past three seasons.

Look for that trend to continue this season in Minnesota, where he’ll team up with big man Karl Anthony-Towns and point guard Jeff Teague to form the core of a talented, young T-Wolves roster that will have to do battle in a loaded Western Conference all year.

Start the discussion

to comment