Kawhi Leonard may just be the greatest player ever to wear a Clippers uniform if he takes them to the Conference Finals this year.
On 10th July 2019, the LA Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard for a reported $103 million deal that included a player option in 2021. This was the biggest signing in Clippers’ history that had the likes of Chris Paul and Blake Griffin earlier.
According to various reports, it was Kawhi, who played a major role in recruiting 7x NBA All-Star Paul George. This made them an elite superstar duo that could play both ends of the floor.
In his first season with the Clippers, Kawhi averaged 27.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 4.9 APG, and had 1.8 SPG. The Klaw also won the 2020 NBA All-Star MVP.
However, the former 2x NBA champion’s first season with the Clippers didn’t go as planned. As they were eliminated in the semi-finals by a relatively inexperienced Utah Jazz. The Clippers were heavily criticized and mocked for blowing a 3-1 lead.
Kawhi Leonard is the most valuable player in Clippers’ history
There is no doubt that Leonard is one of the top 10 players in the league currently. The 5x NBA All-Star has won 2 championships with 2 separate teams and has been crowned Finals MVP in both cases.
The LA Clippers were one of the top contenders in the west this year. They finished the season with a 47-25 record and clinched a playoff spot as the 4th seed.
The first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs saw the Clippers struggle against the Dallas Mavericks, who were led by superstar Luka Doncic.
Despite losing the first 2 games at home the Clippers bounced back. Kawhi leading the team from front averaging 32.1 PPG as he shot an effortless 61.2% from the field and 42.5% from the 3-point line.
KAWHI WITH THE SEISMIC SLAM! pic.twitter.com/BnOawjuItW
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) June 15, 2021
Leonard was recently announced as NBA All-Defensive second team. The 7th time this accolade was bestowed upon him.
Leonard has been nothing short of extraordinary in the series against the Utah Jazz. Though the Clippers lost the first 2 games. They have been able to pull themselves back in, with the series being tied 2-2 currently.
George and Leonard recently became the 3rd duo in NBA history to each score 20+ points in their team’s first 11 games of the post-season.
Why Kawhi shall retire as a Clipper
The Clippers have been a relatively unpopular franchise in the basketball world. They have never even made it beyond a conference final. The recruitment of Kawhi and Paul has made them the strongest they have ever been.
Kawhi is the most successful player in Clippers’ history. The resume speaks for itself a 2x NBA champion and finals MVP, 2x Defensive Player of the Year, 2015 steals leader, 2x All NBA first team and the list goes on.
If the Clippers win the NBA championship this year. It would cement Kawhi’s legacy as one of the greats. Kawhi would become the 5th player in NBA history to have won 3 championships with 3 different teams.
Kawhi is the Clippers’ only hope to get rid of the tag of being the step-child of LA or the team at the basement of Staples Center.