The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread

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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#361 » by RCM88x » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:41 pm

Idk if he was just gassed or something, but I felt like he had no first step in the last few games and really struggled to get to the rim off the dribble. Not sure what his deal was last night, but it seemed like he was both uninterested and discouraged once the Nuggets made it a close game in the 2nd. Such a bizarre game and last few performances from him.

Regardless, I think most people should agree his defense is basically non existent now, he was invisible on that end too. You'd think if his shot wasn't falling he could re-focus his efforts into getting stops, but that never really seemed to happen. Not really a Kawhi guy at all but it really wanted to see him against LA again, those matchups in the regular season were fantastic, oh well, maybe next year.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#362 » by Odinn21 » Wed Sep 16, 2020 2:01 pm

Arrow wrote:I forgot the exact stats, but I read in another thread that Kawhi in elimination games shoots in the 48-51 TS% range. Yikes. His career TS% is 61.4, one of the highest among 20+ PPG scorers. To have a drop that big when your playoff life is on the line speaks volume. People forget because the Raptors won last year, but Kawhi was 15/38 before his game-winning shot. The guy has never played well with his back against the wall.

Since 2016 he played 3 elimination games and scored 77 points (25.7 per game) on .431 ts. Mind you he had a .620 ts over those playoffs.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#363 » by Bergmaniac » Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:39 pm

That second half from him was just brutal, 1/11 FGs, zero FTs, a lot of desperate flailing to get a call in situations it wasn't warranted at all, played hot potato with the ball a lot in the fourth quarter. I don't know how much of it was tiredness and how much choking, but it wasn't pretty.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#364 » by O_6 » Wed Sep 16, 2020 3:57 pm

Some thoughts on Kawhi Leonard's 2020 season...

1. He didn't choose the Lakers. A trio of LeBron/Kawhi/AD would just be a joke and it would be an absolute shock if they had lost in the playoffs. After finally being free from the Durant/Curry Warriors, this new superteam in LA would have sucked so much interest out of the league. Kawhi choosing LAC instead of LAL created 2 great teams instead of 1 superteam. The balance of the league felt better than it had in years and you can thank Kawhi for that. Not only that but all the accomplishments that LeBron/Davis/Kawhi would have attained would have felt a little empty, similar to Durant with GSW.

2. Choosing to go the LAC instead of staying with TOR. I initially wasn't as against this move as some others, and I'm still not as opposed to it as others. The main reason why is because I considered Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol the 2nd and 4th most important players on the Raptors in 2019, maybe even 2nd and 3rd. Lowry is 34 and Gasol is 35. I don't blame Kawhi for questioning signing long-term in Toronto when 2 of the key members of their title team are about to enter an age range where most players simply stop being good.

Siakam and OG both improved a lot. Powell and VanVleet are legit. Kawhi could have gotten a ring in Toronto this year. But once Lowry declines, I think the Raptors will too and it could be sooner than people expect. That plus Paul George being a legit Top 15 two-way stud on a deep "on paper" Clippers team and wanting to "go home" to Cali, and I can understand why he made the choice he made.

3. He improved as a passer/creator, but not enough for LAC. So whenever we've had Kawhi vs. Kobe threads on here since the Raptors' championship, I've generally voted Kobe based on his superior ability to be a de-facto PG and be the primary ball-handler on his team. I knew Kawhi was better from an efficiency standpoint and was the more physical player who added more as a rebounder/defender. But I couldn't help but feel his lack of passing/creating kept him from being on Kobe's level as an offensive player. And I think Kawhi really improved as a passer, he averaged 4.9 APG in the regular season and 5.5 APG in the playoffs. Both career highs and he did this without becoming turnover-prone. I saw him make a ton of really nice passes during these playoffs, particularly some really quality pocket passes in PnR situations.

But as much as he improved in the passing/creating area, he's still lacking in comparison to other great perimeter players. Not just in history, but in today's league. Guys like LeBron, Luka, and Harden are able to dictate a game to such a degree because of their ball-handling and passing being such a threat to opposing defenses. You could even see how Jokic's elite passing allowed him to control that LAC-DEN series in a way that Kawhi couldn't offensively.

On a team with a true PG (cough Lowry cough), Kawhi would actually be a great secondary ball-handler/creator. But the Clippers have Beverley and Lou Williams, neither of whom is a true floor general. Paul George has also never been known as a great creator. I think having to be the primary creator (5.9 APG in playoffs, leading his team) forced Kawhi to expend more energy than he wanted to and hurt him as a pure scorer/defender (which is what he's best at).

4. Still an amazing player. He had a really poor Game 7 and his team collapsed. It's definitely a moment we won't forget when it comes to his career, but all the greats fail sometimes. I think and hope this will quiet some of the ridiculous media hype of Kawhi this year, but he's still one of the truly great players in the league today. It will be very interesting to see how the rest of his career plays out. How much longevity will he have? How will the Clippers respond next year in a deeper league (Curry/Klay/Durant/Irving all back)? What moves can the Clippers really make to shore up their weaknesses at PG and Center? Can Kawhi come back even better?
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#365 » by nzahir » Wed Sep 16, 2020 5:08 pm

Heej wrote:
freethedevil wrote:
Heej wrote:Kawhi is a system player. Played under the best coach in the league every year until now. KD saw through it

Lmao what?

KD got outplayed by westbrook in the 16 playoffs and proceeded to run to a 73 win team. GTFO here.

KD called him a system player back in 2014 and it's still true today.

KD also said PG>Kawhi at some point...

Not trusting his judgement
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#366 » by No-more-rings » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:28 pm

Dutchball97 wrote:On the other hand what if Kawhi just isn't a leader? He did play on stacked teams with great leaders (Duncan/Pop, Lowry/Nurse). Do we have to accept just like KD, Giannis and Harden that Kawhi is a great player but can't lead a team to a championship like LeBron or Curry?

Don't see what makes Curry so much more qualified to lead a championship team. He has one as the clear cut best player just like Kawhi does, with also the benefit of great coaching and talent on his team.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#367 » by Dutchball97 » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:46 pm

No-more-rings wrote:
Dutchball97 wrote:On the other hand what if Kawhi just isn't a leader? He did play on stacked teams with great leaders (Duncan/Pop, Lowry/Nurse). Do we have to accept just like KD, Giannis and Harden that Kawhi is a great player but can't lead a team to a championship like LeBron or Curry?

Don't see what makes Curry so much more qualified to lead a championship team. He has one as the clear cut best player just like Kawhi does, with also the benefit of great coaching and talent on his team.


5 consecutive finals is a big deal.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#368 » by freethedevil » Wed Sep 16, 2020 6:49 pm

Dutchball97 wrote:
No-more-rings wrote:
Dutchball97 wrote:On the other hand what if Kawhi just isn't a leader? He did play on stacked teams with great leaders (Duncan/Pop, Lowry/Nurse). Do we have to accept just like KD, Giannis and Harden that Kawhi is a great player but can't lead a team to a championship like LeBron or Curry?

Don't see what makes Curry so much more qualified to lead a championship team. He has one as the clear cut best player just like Kawhi does, with also the benefit of great coaching and talent on his team.


5 consecutive finals is a big deal.

or how about outplaying kawhi the one time he was "the clear cut best player on a title team".
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#369 » by KTM_2813 » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:00 pm

O_6 wrote:4. Still an amazing player. He had a really poor Game 7 and his team collapsed. It's definitely a moment we won't forget when it comes to his career, but all the greats fail sometimes. I think and hope this will quiet some of the ridiculous media hype of Kawhi this year, but he's still one of the truly great players in the league today. It will be very interesting to see how the rest of his career plays out. How much longevity will he have? How will the Clippers respond next year in a deeper league (Curry/Klay/Durant/Irving all back)? What moves can the Clippers really make to shore up their weaknesses at PG and Center? Can Kawhi come back even better?


I think this is an excellent point. Kawhi is a great player, who has reached all-time great heights, and has an argument for best player in the league. He had a really bad game, but so has virtually every other player in history. What's interesting is that so much of the criticism Kawhi is getting today is the result of unfair expectations that never should have existed in the first place. People were literally labeling him as a "Dynasty Killer". The media cycle of outrage (expect something unrealistic from a player --> player inevitably doesn't live up to the hype --> blame player for not meeting unreasonable expectations that were spun out of nowhere) is as undefeated as Father Time.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#370 » by Peregrine01 » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:01 pm

Thought Kawhi made a big leap with his playmaking this season but he reverted back to bad tunnel vision during crucial moments in this series. Makes me think that great vision and playmaking isn't something that can be readily developed so late into a player's career.

Seeing how easily Jokic created for his teammates compared to what Kawhi was doing made me realize just how much (even we on this forum) underrate this part of the game.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#371 » by No-more-rings » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:07 pm

Dutchball97 wrote:
No-more-rings wrote:
Dutchball97 wrote:On the other hand what if Kawhi just isn't a leader? He did play on stacked teams with great leaders (Duncan/Pop, Lowry/Nurse). Do we have to accept just like KD, Giannis and Harden that Kawhi is a great player but can't lead a team to a championship like LeBron or Curry?

Don't see what makes Curry so much more qualified to lead a championship team. He has one as the clear cut best player just like Kawhi does, with also the benefit of great coaching and talent on his team.


5 consecutive finals is a big deal.

3 came on the most stacked team of all time lol. People need to stop being disingenuous when it comes to Curry. He had exploitable flaws just like Kawhi might now appear to have. He's certainly no Lebron caliber player, so people need to stop lumping anyone in with him other than guys were actually goat level players not Curry or Kawhi.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#372 » by No-more-rings » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:10 pm

freethedevil wrote:
Dutchball97 wrote:
No-more-rings wrote:Don't see what makes Curry so much more qualified to lead a championship team. He has one as the clear cut best player just like Kawhi does, with also the benefit of great coaching and talent on his team.


5 consecutive finals is a big deal.

or how about outplaying kawhi the one time he was "the clear cut best player on a title team".

Debatable. You know at some point you probably need to just admit you're biased against Kawhi. Instead of giving him props for being one of the best players of the past few years you always look to downgrade and smear his legacy or something.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#373 » by ardee » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:13 pm

No-more-rings wrote:
Dutchball97 wrote:On the other hand what if Kawhi just isn't a leader? He did play on stacked teams with great leaders (Duncan/Pop, Lowry/Nurse). Do we have to accept just like KD, Giannis and Harden that Kawhi is a great player but can't lead a team to a championship like LeBron or Curry?

Don't see what makes Curry so much more qualified to lead a championship team. He has one as the clear cut best player just like Kawhi does, with also the benefit of great coaching and talent on his team.


He was very much the clear cut best player in 2017 too. 2018 I think he was still the better player than Durant but due to his injuries Durant had the better season, so I'll give you that.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#374 » by freethedevil » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:19 pm

No-more-rings wrote:
freethedevil wrote:
Dutchball97 wrote:
5 consecutive finals is a big deal.

or how about outplaying kawhi the one time he was "the clear cut best player on a title team".
Debatable.

Anything's debatable, but the case for kawhi outplaying curry in the 2019 finals is a lot weaker than the inverse from what I've seen.
You know at some point you probably need to just admit you're biased against Kawhi.

I can be as biased as I want. When someone makes a semi-coherent argument that kawhi was somehow not outplayed by curry when curry created **** more and scored more against a much better defense, my 'bias' might become relevant. Until then, keep deflecting.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#375 » by dreamshake » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:23 pm

Rewatched game 7. The main thing that really stuck out to me more on 2nd viewing was how bad Kawhi's effort was on defense. Just absolutely dying on screens.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#376 » by freethedevil » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:29 pm

No-more-rings wrote:
Dutchball97 wrote:
No-more-rings wrote:Don't see what makes Curry so much more qualified to lead a championship team. He has one as the clear cut best player just like Kawhi does, with also the benefit of great coaching and talent on his team.


5 consecutive finals is a big deal.

3 came on the most stacked team of all time lol. People need to stop being disingenuous when it comes to Curry. He had exploitable flaws just like Kawhi might now appear to have. He's certainly no Lebron caliber player, so people need to stop lumping anyone in with him other than guys were actually goat level players not Curry or Kawhi.

3? you mean 2 right. 2019 obviously doesn't fir the bill since kd went bye bye, and in 2016 the warriors played 50 win basketball without curry and performed comparably in the playoffs to the kawhi-less raptors under both under casey and nurse.

If the 15 or 16 warriors were stacked, then so were the 19 raptors(more so probably given they switched out casey for nurse and derozan for gasol).

B2B finals in a tougher conference anyway(okc were a 65 win team at full strength), 2016 doing it after an injury which any doctor will tell you takes several weeks to heal from.

And then depending on how you want to lineup the excuses either curry won a 67 win title or a 73 win title. Neither of which the 19 raptors would ever dream of.

Curry is vastly more proven in the playoffs yeah. Lebron james is one thing, but you're talking about kawhi leonard. The gap is collossal.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#377 » by No-more-rings » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:31 pm

freethedevil wrote:
No-more-rings wrote:
freethedevil wrote:or how about outplaying kawhi the one time he was "the clear cut best player on a title team".
Debatable.

Anything's debatable, but the case for kawhi outplaying curry in the 2019 finals is a lot weaker than the inverse from what I've seen.
You know at some point you probably need to just admit you're biased against Kawhi.

I can be as biased as I want. When someone makes a semi-coherent argument that kawhi was somehow not outplayed by curry when curry created **** more and scored more against a much better defense, my 'bias' might become relevant. Until then, keep deflecting.

Their numbers look comparable enough to me, what proof is there that Curry was so clearly better? That's why it sounds biased to me, two guys have comparable numbers, yet the one with better defense and who's team won was clearly worse than the other. You can pick Curry and not scoff at Kawhi.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#378 » by freethedevil » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:35 pm

No-more-rings wrote:
freethedevil wrote:
No-more-rings wrote:Anything's debatable, but the case for kawhi outplaying curry in the 2019 finals is a lot weaker than the inverse from what I've seen.

I can be as biased as I want. When someone makes a semi-coherent argument that kawhi was somehow not outplayed by curry when curry created **** more and scored more against a much better defense, my 'bias' might become relevant. Until then, keep deflecting.

Their numbers look comparable enough to me, what proof is there that Curry was so clearly better? T.

What numbers? the tre shooting%? is that all you looked at?

Did you look at the massive gap in defenses?

How about the massive hap in assist :turnover ratio or assist% to turnover percentage? Yes that's right, even speaking strictly on-ball, curry lol'd kawhi.

For **** sake curry played better defense than kawhi in game 3 and game 5. How in the planet can you accuse someone of bias, when the only number that supports your argument is true shooting, and every single other thing points to a massive gap in favor of curry?

I won't scoff at a kawhi-curry comparison regarding the 19 finals when poisitive evidence is put curry didn't son him. In lieu of such evidence, I shall go with the logical conclusion given the drastic gap in most of the numbers, that kawhi was indeed sonned.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#379 » by No-more-rings » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:38 pm

freethedevil wrote:
No-more-rings wrote:
Dutchball97 wrote:
5 consecutive finals is a big deal.

3 came on the most stacked team of all time lol. People need to stop being disingenuous when it comes to Curry. He had exploitable flaws just like Kawhi might now appear to have. He's certainly no Lebron caliber player, so people need to stop lumping anyone in with him other than guys were actually goat level players not Curry or Kawhi.

3? you mean 2 right. 2019 obviously doesn't fir the bill since kd went bye bye, and in 2016 the warriors played 50 win basketball without curry and performed comparably in the playoffs to the kawhi-less raptors under both under casey and nurse.

If the 15 or 16 warriors were stacked, then so were the 19 raptors(more so probably given they switched out casey for nurse and derozan for gasol).

B2B finals in a tougher conference anyway(okc were a 65 win team at full strength), 2016 doing it after an injury which any doctor will tell you takes several weeks to heal from.

And then depending on how you want to lineup the excuses either curry won a 67 win title or a 73 win title. Neither of which the 19 raptors would ever dream of.

Curry is vastly more proven in the playoffs yeah. Lebron james is one thing, but you're talking about kawhi leonard. The gap is collossal.

You can subtract 2019 that's fine, but they were still obviously better than the Blazers and should've won that. Up until that game 6 against Houston Curry was playing subpar for his standards in the playoffs, with a decent number of stinkers. He did a lot better from there on, but this idea that Curry was massively better in the playoffs than Kawhi is fiction at best.
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Re: The 2019-20 Kawhi Leonard Thread 

Post#380 » by freethedevil » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:40 pm

No-more-rings wrote:
freethedevil wrote:
No-more-rings wrote:3 came on the most stacked team of all time lol. People need to stop being disingenuous when it comes to Curry. He had exploitable flaws just like Kawhi might now appear to have. He's certainly no Lebron caliber player, so people need to stop lumping anyone in with him other than guys were actually goat level players not Curry or Kawhi.

3? you mean 2 right. 2019 obviously doesn't fir the bill since kd went bye bye, and in 2016 the warriors played 50 win basketball without curry and performed comparably in the playoffs to the kawhi-less raptors under both under casey and nurse.

If the 15 or 16 warriors were stacked, then so were the 19 raptors(more so probably given they switched out casey for nurse and derozan for gasol).

B2B finals in a tougher conference anyway(okc were a 65 win team at full strength), 2016 doing it after an injury which any doctor will tell you takes several weeks to heal from.

And then depending on how you want to lineup the excuses either curry won a 67 win title or a 73 win title. Neither of which the 19 raptors would ever dream of.

Curry is vastly more proven in the playoffs yeah. Lebron james is one thing, but you're talking about kawhi leonard. The gap is collossal.

You can subtract 2019 that's fine, but they were still obviously better than the Blazers and should've won that. Up until that game 6 against Houston Curry was playing subpar for his standards in the playoffs, with a decent number of stinkers. He did a lot better from there on, but this idea that Curry was massively better in the playoffs than Kawhi is fiction at best.

fine forget 2019. neither 15 or 16 is there an evidence based argument for the curry-less warriors being worse than the kawhi-less raptors. The warriors with curry were better than the kawhi led raptors tho.

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