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Kawhi Leonard:

Staying in Los Angeles, the reigning NBA champion Kawhi Leonard is looking to bring a championship to the Clippers. The ‘Klaw’ has led the Clippers to the #2 spot in the West, with a record of 44 wins and 20 losses. Leonard is an elite two-way superstar who has consistently been one of the best defenders in the league. As well as a lethal force on the offensive side. 

Leonard has developed his game this season to become more of a facilitator. What was once a weakness, his passing is now at an elite level and as a result he is averaging a career-high 5 assists a game. This coincides with a rise in his volume and scoring. Leonard has taken on a lot of the offensive load at the Clippers and is attempting a career-high 19.9 field goals per contest, on .469% shooting. Due to this increase in volume, Leonard is scoring a career-high 26.9 points per game. 

Most of these points come from his outstanding mid-range game where he easily creates his own shot. His finishing in the paint and around the rim is extremely efficient and when fouled he is elite at the line with a .889% free-throw conversion rate. Leonard’s volume from three-point has also increased and he’s attempting 5.7 per game on an above league average .366% efficiency. He has offensively stepped into a new gear and has proven that he can handle the load. 

No-one is safe when they are guarded by Leonard. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year can guard anyone and has consistently been one of the best defenders in the league. He cuts passing lanes very well and is an experienced pickpocket artist, averaging 1.8 steals per game. Leonard is 2.01m tall with an incredible 2.21m wingspan, and his hands are 11.5 inches. His size helps him grab rebounds, steals, as well as contest shots effectively.  His defensive IQ is insane, he reads plays and can switch when needed with excellent speed. Leonard is a huge reason as to why the Clippers currently have the fifth-highest defensive rating in the entire league. 

Looking at Jacob Goldstein’s PIPM metric, Kawhi Leonard is second in the league with an exceptional score of 6.42. This shows that Leonard, along with Giannis Antetokounmpo (9.00), are truly the best two-way players in the NBA.  

The reigning NBA champion is looking to bring the 2020 Championship to the Clippers, alongside star Paul George. With the Clippers in the top 3 favourites, according to the bookies, it may just happen too. However, they will have to get past a phenomenal Lakers team lead by the two-headed dragon of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, and a Milwaukee Bucks team lead by arguably the best player in the league, Giannis Antetokounmpo. 

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