LA Clippers: Kawhi Leonard, mind games, and The Art of War

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
2 of 5
Kawhi Leonard LA Clippers
Kawhi Leonard LA Clippers (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

“Knowing the enemy enables you to take the offensive, knowing yourself enables you to stand on the defensive.”

Kawhi excels on both ends of the floor. For that to happen a player can’t just rely on skill or athleticism, but must truly know the game, himself, and his opponents inside and out.

Breaking down this quote even further, to be an offensive mastermind, you must study your opponent, know their weaknesses and how to attack them. Kawhi has worked on his game to the point where he can shoot from outside, finish at the rim, hit the mid-range shot, and pass to find the open man when he’s guarded. He knows what to do and when to do it and part of that comes from developing his skill and part of it comes from studying and knowing the game, and his opponent’s tendencies.

At the start of his career in San Antonio, Leonard had the opportunity to play with stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. Because of this, he got to learn and develop his game without the pressure of being the offensive focal point of a team. In just his third season in the NBA, Leonard stepped up when it mattered the most and became the Finals MVP as the Spurs beat the Miami Heat for the championship.

He knows when to take things into his own gigantic hands, and when to rely on his teammates.

On defense, Kawhi is a menace in both man-to-man and team situations. He can lock down the best offensive player on the other team, switch to guard multiple positions, and anticipate moves to jump the passing lane and make the right gamble when necessary. He’s knows what he is capable of doing on the floor, and knowing, as they say, is half the battle.