“Kawhi Leonard Jordan would be on the mission” – NBA analyst envisions Leonard as a top-tier player this season, says he has fully recovered from his injury and is expected to make a strong comeback


Kawhi Leonard is set to return this season after missing nearly 500 days of basketball due to an ACL injury he suffered in June 2021.

Leonard sat out the entire 2021-22 season, and without him, the LA Clippers could only get as far as the play-in tournament. They were, surprisingly, the better of the two teams in LA, but not by much.

With the new season only a few weeks away, Kendrick Perkins, on ESPN’s “NBA Today,” spoke about Leonard’s comeback:

“He had the whole year off to recover. That’s more than enough time with ACL injury.

“I expect big things out of him. Forget being the top-25 player. He will be a top-10 player when it’s all said and done at the end of this season. Kawhi Leonard Jordan would be on the mission. This is why I got the Clippers. That’s my favorite because he is a go-to guy, one of the best to do it.”


Kawhi Leonard is a playoff nightmare

LA Clippers vs. Chicago Bulls.
LA Clippers vs. Chicago Bulls.

Kawhi Leonard is cut from the same clothing as players who have outperformed their peers on the biggest stage. They have done this while being deprived of regular-season awards, like scoring titles and MVPs.

This is not to say Leonard is a lackluster player in the regular season. Leonard has averaged 26 points, 6.8 rebounds and 5 assists in 109 games for the LA Clippers. His playoff record for the franchise is even better, where he has averaged 29.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 5 assists in 24 games.

Kawhi Leonard has a deep resume: — 19/6— 5x All-Star— 5x All-NBA— 7x All-Defense— 2x DPOY— 2x Champ— 2x FMVPWhere does Fun Guy rank all-time? https://t.co/36bnfhOMoS

Leonard has led the league in plus-minus on two separate occasions in the playoffs. During his title run with the Toronto Raptors in 2019, Leonard led the league in offensive, defensive and total win shares in the playoffs.

Moreover, he has led the league in PER on two occasions, and has more than doubled the league average on both.

If all the numbers weren’t enough, just watching Kawhi Leonard’s defense is a thing of beauty. At 6-foot-7, he is an unlikely rim protector. But his wingspan of 2.21 meters, similar to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s, and his unusually large hands lend themselves well to defending down low.

Combine all of this with his lateral quickness and IQ, and what you get is a two-way player. He is also a two-time champion, two-time Finals MVP, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and one of the 75 greatest players of all time.

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