Kawhi Leonard is the best offensive and defensive player in basketball

Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Kawhi Leonard, LA Clippers. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports /

As Kawhi Leonard made his debut for the LA Clippers, it was clear what type of impact he would have. Not only is Leonard one of the best basketball players in the world, but he is also a great presence in the locker room. After winning a championship in Toronto, Leonard’s reasoning for joining the Clippers was very simple.

Throughout Leonard’s career, he has had many accomplishments. From winning championships to finals MVPs to even making seven all-defensive teams, Leonard is the real deal. Additionally, Leonard also has accomplished two Defensive Player of the Year awards.

What Leonard brings to the table is irreplaceable. The only factor holding Leonard back is his health. A healthy Leonard is the scariest sight in basketball. Pairing Leonard with players like Paul George, Norman Powell, and Reggie Jackson is unfair. Leonard is elite on both ends of the floor. Let’s dive in and see the actual value of Kawhi Leonard.

Kawhi Leonard Is The Best Player In The NBA.

Kawhi Leonard came to the LA Clippers to do one thing and that is to win a championship. Through 10 seasons in the NBA, Leonard averages 19.2 points per game, 6.4 rebounds per game, and 2.9 assists per game as well as 1.8 steals per game. Although these stats look very good, Leonard did not make his first All-Star selection until his 5th season. Leonard was always an elite defensive player, but his offensive abilities took a few seasons to develop.

What Leonard contributes on the offensive end is fairly clear. Through Leonard’s two seasons with the LA Clippers, he averages 26.0 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, and 5.0 assists per game while shooting 48.8% from the field, 38.7% from the three-point line, and 88.5% from the free-throw line.

Through these two seasons with the LA Clippers, Leonard also managed to average 1.7 steals per game as well as an average defensive rating of 107. In the 2019-20 NBA Season, Leonard posted 3.5 deflections per game as well as 7.2 contested shots per game. To put this in perspective, Ben Simmons, who placed 4th in Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2020, averaged 3.9 deflections per game on 5.4 contested shots per game.

Leonard’s next season with the LA Clippers (2020-21), Leonard averaged 2.6 deflections per game on 5.7 contested shots per game. In this same season, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who finished 5th in Defensive Player of the Year voting, averaged 2.0 deflections per game on 8.6 contested shots per game.

After looking at what Kawhi Leonard contributes on both ends of the floor, below are some of his best performances throughout his two seasons with the LA Clippers.

December 13, 2019, versus Minnesota Timberwolves – 42 points and 11 rebounds

December 25, 2019, versus Los Angeles Lakers – 35 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists

January 14, 2020, versus the Cleveland Cavaliers – 43 points and 2 steals on 63.6% from the field

January 24, 2020, versus the Miami Heat – 33 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists

February 10, 2021, versus the Minnesota Timberwolves – 36 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals

June 4, 2021, versus Dallas Mavericks (playoffs) – 45 points and 6 rebounds on 72% from the field

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Since joining the LA Clippers, Leonard has also averaged career highs in assists per game. Leonard’s game continues to evolve. It is very easy to see the impact Leonard has on both ends of the floor. Kawhi Leonard is the best player in the world at full health. It is only a matter of time before Leonard leads the LA Clippers to their first NBA title.