Chauncey Billups may have started it. Back on draft night last June, when Mr. Big Shot compared Rui Hachimura to Clippers superstar Kawhi Leonard, it sparked a fairly big debate with strong arguments on both sides.
Even Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard was asked about the Hachimura/Leonard parallel that night and he downplayed it, not wanting to put too much on Hachimura's shoulders. And he wasn't the only one in the organization who thought people should pump the brakes.
Star guard Bradley Beal joined the Lowe Post podcast this week and recalled finding the comparison fairly ridiculous.
"It was funny because when everyone was making the Kawhi comparisons on draft night, people laughed. Hell, I even laughed because Kawhi is a damn superstar and Rui played the four," Beal told ESPN's Zach Lowe.
Beal, though, started to come around on Billups' analysis over the course of the summer, once Hachimura arrived in Washington to scrimmage with his new teamates in Washington. Beal quickly realized the Leonard comparison, though lofty, wasn't entirely off-base.
"When we got him and when I saw him in the summer, he was dribbling, he was putting the ball on the floor and bringing the ball up the floor and palming it with one hand, I could see why they were making the comparisons to Kawhi," Beal explained.
"He's not Kawhi, but he plays like him. I was like 'well, he has a high ceiling.' He's not really a four, we can really make him into a three. We can make him into a play-maker. He can post smaller guys, he can guard big guys. He's very versatile in a lot of ways. I think his ceiling is really high. I love him. He's a workhorse. I don't know who he's really, really comparable to because his ceiling is that high."
Beal mentioned Hachimura's high ceiling once more in the interview. That is interesting because one of the knocks on Hachimura, a three-year college player, coming out of the draft was that he didn't have the star potential of younger prospects.
Hachimura has changed Beal's mind on several accounts. All Beal had to do was see what he could do with his own eyes.
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