The Los Angeles Clippers had a disappointing end to their playoff series. The Clippers lost Kawhi Leonard because of a partial tear ACL injury, and Paul George could not carry the team forward. Despite Leonard’s absence, Reggie Jackson and Terrance Mann stood up for Clipper Nation to enthrall the audience.
However, with their key man injured, the Clippers succumbed to the Suns in the Western Conference finals this year. Notably, Kawhi’s absence proved to be the difference because of his scoring output for the Los Angeles-based franchise. Now, Gilbert Arenas has spoken about Kawhi’s strengths while also focusing on his weaknesses.
Gilbert Arenas throws light on Kawhi Leonard
In a recent interview, the former three-time NBA all-star Gilbert Arenas shared some snippets on approaching Kawhi Leonard while defending him.
“If you know Kawhi Leonard, and once he goes and starts on his one-on-one, he is not a great passer, so just run at him. He is not gonna, what is he gonna do. If he has a mid-impulse, you already know it’s a natural fade. He is gonna turn around and do a fadeaway, every time,” said Arenas.
Jun 6, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) reacts during the second half in game seven of the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs. at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Pundits have always debated the passing ability of Kawhi. The effective mid-range jumpers are always deadly but the ability to shoot them accurately is quite outstanding. However, this is the go-to shot of Kawhi, and restricting him on that might prove fruitful for opposition teams. While Arenas made a case of him not being a good passer, some instances are showing otherwise.
Leonard’s passing ability is improving
The absence of Kawhi from the remaining games in the playoff series was quite noticeable. Although Paul George played well, Kawhi’s ability on the ball was missed. Kawhi has averaged over 3.3 and 4.9 assists per game in the last two seasons and improved to a career-high 5.2 assists this season. While Kyle Lowry was the primary ball-handler in Toronto, Kawhi seemed to facilitate the Clippers’ offense in the last two years.
With Paul George on the wings, Kawhi has produced some brilliant assists this season.
The improvement in Kawhi’s passing will only improve him as a player because he also has the rare skill set of being able to do everything. As of right now, Kawhi is a good shooter, rebounder, blocker, stealer, and shoots effectively well from beyond the arc. But if he polishes his playmaking skills, Leonard will be a force to reckon with come next season.
The player is recovering from his injury and looks set for another deep playoff run. The Clippers front office has their work cut out this season. With Jackson and Batum entering their final contract years, the organization needs to support Leonard to help him grow. By adding a few more pieces, the Clippers hope to improve on their performances this season and finally win their first NBA title.
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