Kawhi Leonard is trying to topple the Golden State Warriors and take the Toronto Raptors not just to their first NBA Finals, but their first ever championship.
The former San Antonio Spurs star has played well in at these playoffs, and is perhaps the best player of this postseason. Leonard has defied some of the best practices in today’s NBA by being one of the last remaining players who seems to come up big from midrange.
Because of his ability from that area of the floor, and because of his clutch shot making, big hands, and defensive ability, Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers thanks that Leonard is the player most like Michael Jordan playing today.
It’s not like the narrative around Leonard is entirely accurate. He still takes 27% of his shots from 3-point range, and in fact the real change since his last playoff appearances has been the amount of shots inside of three feet Leonard has taken. Compared to 2016-17, this postseason Leonard has shot 4 percent more of his field goals from 0-to-3 feet, according to Basketball-Reference.
Looking at his shot distribution simply in terms of his recent averages, Leonard isn’t noticeably off of his normal path. He can kind of beat you from anywhere, and that’s why Leonard has been so hard to stop.
Meanwhile, no doubt some folks in Toronto will be looking at Rivers’ high praise with a weary eye. The Clippers are one of Leonard’s rumored destinations once the season ends.