Wednesday’s NBA news cycle was a whirlwind, but before the end of the playoff series against the Utah Jazz, the news that Kawhi Leonard is unlikely to be present can be said to be the biggest highlight of the day. Defending the home court, Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers suddenly seemed a threat to win everything.
Leonard’s outstanding performance in the playoffs this season has made him the most valuable player in the Western Conference playoffs. Together with Kevin Durant in the East, Leonard played best in the playoffs. At the age of 30, he has the highest PER in the playoffs. So if Leonard is unable to play due to a knee injury, the Clippers will no longer be an opponent. It’s too easy. As a scorer, Leonard combines capacity and efficiency to a ridiculously high level.
In the first round, he became the first player to score 200 points and more than 60% in a single game after Shaquille O’Neal in 2000. But here is the thing: Unlike the other legends on this list, Leonard manages it by overcoming a large number of sweaters. When he entered the league, he wasn’t a reliable jumper. Now that you have it, calling it “reliable” is an understatement.
Leonard has developed into one of the best middle-class scorers in the world. Although such shots are generally unpopular in Age of Analysis, this frown is not specific to select snipers who can shoot these shots at top speed. Leonard spent 66% of his money in the playoffs, with the goal of achieving the highest shooting percentage (at least 30 FGA) in a single playoff game in 25 years.
He is giving the Clippers 30.4 points per game. A very efficient game, but he is also the main catalyst for the team throughout the season. This happened when Leonard was holding the ball. According to Second Spectrum, no midfield team averages more points per game than the Clippers and Kawhi. Leonard’s creative ability, especially with drives. According to Second Spectrum data, Leonard averaged 1.18 points per drive this season, which is the third best result in the NBA considering the playoffs.