The return of Leonard’s king has already made the worrying Clippers supporters find their sustenance again. In almost every game, he behaves like a top star in the league. He can match any opponent. No one can stop him. He is an unstoppable member of the annual lineup, and he can lead the team to good results regardless of whether the deputy star is on the court or not.
Many favorite teams to win the championship this season, their strengths and weaknesses are undoubtedly reflected in the leading stars. Take the Nuggets: So unselfish, so skilled, so aesthetically stunning; yet the biggest problem is defense. The Grizzlies walk between being bold and out of control; the Bucks are simple and rough, but their willpower cannot be questioned; Take it one game at a time.
Yet we’ve seen Clippers on both sides of the aisle: They’re unfathomable, uninteresting, and yet, over the past month, they’ve taught many opponents to be intimidated.As a big-market team that pays nine-figure luxury taxes, Los Angeles has a clear goal: they wantat all costsWin, but in the regular season alone, they already have enough problems to solve one by one.
The Clippers’ lineup is lined up, deep enough, rich in experience, with peripheral firepower, and a more balanced offense and defense. However, without Kawhi Leonard in charge, everything fell apart in an instant. For Clippers fans, it may seem like a curse, but for other teams, it looks like a godsend: A top star who has been selected to the annual team five times in the past seven years, Leonard started the season as a player. The X-factor of “over-spec” is due to his unstable performance. After missing the entire 2021-22 season because of a torn cruciate ligament, Leonard returned this season under the shackles of a strict playing time limit. Right knee tightness, sidelined 12 games.
The Clippers are very cautious about their main star. In the 3 consecutive home games in November, Fun Guy finally ushered in a return. In these three games, he “only” scored 25 points in total, but unfortunately sprained his ankle, causing him Another 6 games lay.
Fast-forward to a few months later, just as the crowd began to question him, Leonard is back on the top of the top star, and after being blown away by the Nuggets on January 5, Kawhi is back to that The biochemical man we are familiar with, since 18 games, his statistics are: 28.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.9 steals, 52.9%/48.4/92.7% of the shooting measurements, and he can even stand on the free throw line per game 6.1 times, he is one of the most shocking offensive and defensive machines in NBA history.
The Clippers also sparked a 23-12 start with Kawhi and, when he was on the court, paidBest offense in the NBA, and No. 4 in the league defense; many comprehensive advanced statistics have also marked the importance of Leonard: he is estimated plus-minus (estimated plus-minus),DARKO Both ranked 7th in the league,RAPTOR is ranked 5th in the league,LEBRON Ranked 18th in the league and 29th in real plus-minus.
“He’s finally back to who he was, and his playing time is gradually coming back, there is no limit.” Paul George said of his star teammates: “His playing time, his touch, everything is back, and he looks like he is back. Like Kawhi in the old days before the injury, back to that level.”
When asked about the difference between Leonard before the injury and after the injury, Marcus Morris responded more directly: “You have been watching the game, haven’t you? You can answer this question yourself. Fuck, you already know Yeah.” Then he smiled. “He’s starting to be himself again, and I think it’s more important than coordination, I mean, he’s getting more familiar with his body again. I have a lot of confidence in our team, in his ability. I am also very confident. I am very happy that my teammates are back to health one by one.”
The last paragraph of the above statement is especially important for the ill-fated Clippers, who came off a 5-game stretch before Thanksgiving to regain dominance on the court, 18 months after tearing their ACL , Leonard is back to his prime on many levels, and since the last time he had a similar performance, he is still the best player in the NBA in the 2021 playoffs.
In case you forgot, now I will take you back to the 2021 playoffs, Kawhi’s superman performance: 11 games, 30.4 points, 67.9% true shooting percentage, and a personal efficiency value of 30.6. His performance against Luka Doncic and the Mavericks in Game 6 of the first round was like a robot version of Michael Jordan. When facing the edge of elimination in the away game, Leonard not only scored 45 points with 18 of 25 shots, but also scored 45 points in the fourth round. Sticking closely to Doncic, he abandoned the “full defense” strategy that the Clippers were proud of. JJ Redick, who was on the Mavericks’ bench at the time, called his performance “one of the best performances I’ve ever seen.”