If Kawhi gets his 3rd ring…
It’s odd how a top 4 team in the west can fly under the radar but that is exactly what has happened to the Los Angeles Clippers and Kawhi Leonard. It was a disappointing season last year giving up a 3-1 series lead to the Denver Nuggets and squandering the opportunity for the franchise’s 1st conference final berth.
The fact is, they have a cast of proven veteran players. Paul George is as good of a two way player as any in the league and I would not expect another year of “Playoff P”. Rajon Rondo is a proven championship Point Guard that they added mid season. Players like Patrick Beverly, Serge Ibaka, and Marcus Morris provide loads of playoff experience and toughness. Not to mention their championship tested Head Coach Tyronn Lue. All of this led by a player that has proven, more than once, that he is more than capable of taking a team by the reigns and delivering on the biggest stage. I am of course referring to 2x Champion and 2x Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
If Leonard can deliver a third ring to a third franchise he will become the first to ever to do so and we will have to consider him among the very elite of his era. There are levels to this. It is generally accepted that Lebron James is in a class all on his own. It is also generally accepted that Steph Curry and Kevin Durant are really those next guys up. If Leonard wins another Championship and is crowned Finals MVP, not only should he enter the Curry/Durant level of the conversation, he may as well leap frog them both. He will have 3 Championships. That’s the same as Curry and 1 more than Durant. He will have 3 Finals MVP’s. That’s 1 more than Curry (0) and Durant (2) combined.
He will have done it with teams far less talent than that of Curry or Durant. The 2013 San Antonio Spurs were a cast of proven Championship players but lets not pretend that Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili weren’t nearing the end and past their prime. With the Toronto Raptors, his best teammates were Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam. I have to say for Curry, his two primary teammates of Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, in their prime, are better than any listed above. Kevin Durant literally added himself to that championship Warriors team creating arguably the most talented and dominate team in the history of the league. Kawhi Leonard is on the cusp of becoming the greatest of his time. He’s easily the best defender of the 3. He’s proven to deliver in the clutch with the game on the line. He’s done it with less help than most superstars have this day and age. And he’s the only one still under the age of 30.
Watch out basketball world. Here comes The Klaw!