Clippers Fall To Spurs In Game 2: The 5 Things We Learned

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The Defensive Player of the Year does more than just defend

April 22, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) shoots against the defense of Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes (22) during the first half in game two of the first round of the NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Whether or not you view Kawhi Leonard being announced as the Defensive Player of the Year as justified, or as a snub of Draymond Green, you can’t deny that the reigning Finals MVP is still an absolute terror.

He led the league in defensive rating (96.4) and steals per game with 2.3 this year. And in doing so, he established himself as the best perimeter defender in the NBA and reaffirmed that he’s capable of taking the torch after Duncan finally decides to call it a career.

Although, after game two, it’s clear that the Big Fundamental still has a lot to give.

Leonard, on the other hand, is still emerging as one of the league’s brightest young stars, and the fact he’s yet to make an All-Star game — despite being a Finals MVP and DPOY — speaks volumes about the lack of respect that elite defense receives in today’s NBA.

Kawhi has also shown this series that he’s still growing as a offensive threat. This year, he became the Spurs’ leading scorer with 16.5 points per game, and he isn’t slowing down against the Clippers.

He doesn’t score in high volume, and you’ll very rarely see him even reach 25 points, but he’s efficient and constantly developing. Over the first two games of this series, Leonard’s averaging 20.5 points on 57.1 percent shooting, including 60 percent from three-point range.

Of course, it’s only been two games. However, Leonard has shown that he’s still expanding his game as a two-way player and can do more than just swipe away passes for fast break dunks without even breaking a sweat.

Even if Parker is struggling, the Spurs still won’t need to rely on Duncan scoring 28 every night in order to win games. Because they don’t just have immense depth — they have Leonard, as well.

Oh, and as promised, here’s Kawhi breaking Redick’s ankles: