The LA Clippers are finally beginning to find some kind of consistency following the trade for James Harden. After an ugly six-game losing streak, the Clippers have now won back-to-back games with their road win over the Spurs on Monday night.
In what was LA's first road win of the season, they looked much more like the version of themselves many had hoped they could be post-Harden trade. With Russell Westbrook coming off the bench for the second straight game, the Clippers are beginning to figure things out offensively.
After the game, Kawhi Leonard was asked about James Harden and what he does on the floor. Kawhi's response was one that truly shone a light on why he was excited for Harden to sign on with the Clippers in the first place.
Kawhi said that Harden makes the game easier for him. "Gets me wide open looks and that's all I can ask for," said Leonard. "He's stepping it up on defense, but it's a group thing. We have to be able to get in the paint, move the ball, and also do the detailed things."
Kawhi's words show his belief in James Harden
It is clear to see what Kawhi is talking about. Though he is in the later stages of his career and no longer the best offensive player on the floor, there is still a certain offensive gravity James Harden carries that can benefit the players around him. The fact that Kawhi already feels like he is benefitting from Harden's presence in that way is a refreshing development.
The talk of Harden's improved defense is also an eyebrow-raiser. Obviously, Harden is not going to make an All-Defensive team this year. But as Kawhi stated, the team's collective approach to a team-first mindset defensively should be one that Harden can benefit from as well.
Kawhi also alluded to having more energy on defense now that he is tiring himself out less on offense due to Harden being there. This is no small matter, and could help Leonard return to something resembling the dominant defensive form he had when he was in contention for Defensive Player of the Year awards.
Overall, the simple fact that Kawhi Leonard feels James Harden makes his life easier in multiple facets is a great indicator of things to come.