Kawhi Leonard’s time with the Los Angeles Clippers has shown he never belonged in any conversation with LeBron James, and right now he doesn’t look like he’s on the same level as Luka Doncic.
Kawhi is still a great player and what he did winning a championship with the Toronto Raptors will forever be special. But in leaving The Six for the Clips, Leonard took on a responsibility he never had before, leader.
Kawhi was clearly the best player on the Raptors and on that entire playoff run, but Kyle Lowry was their heartbeat. When he was winning with the San Antonio Spurs, Leonard was able to grow under a Hall of Fame infrastructure. Now that he’s in LA, his reputation of being the ultimate winner is taking a bit of a hit given his team has become a punchline.
In fairness, aside from game 7 against the Denver Nuggets last year, it’s not as if he’s struggled individually, including the super efficient 41 he dropped in game 2. But his lack of playmaking for others has become apparent in his current situation, especially when contrasted to what Doncic is doing on the other side. And for someone who has also been known as a lockdown defender, it’s not a good look that Luka is getting any look he wants in this series.
That doesn’t take away from what Leonard has accomplished in his career, but his foray into building his own team with the other team in his hometown is certainly looking like a failure.
Which is probably why you’ll start hearing about him possibly choosing his next destination once he, Paul George, and the rest of the Clippers are sent home.