Kawhi Leonard made his long awaited return to the court last night in the Battle Of LA, and it's safe to say he looks like the same old Kawhi which is huge news for the Clippers
Right away we learned that he's still lethal from midrange, and if Kawhi's midrange shot is falling, well good luck.
In an interesting twist, Kawhi came off the bench to start this game and didn't actually make his first appearance until the second quarter. That alone is pretty nuts for a guy of his status and talent level in the league, but it's also part of what makes Kawhi so awesome. You think he gives a shit? Of course not
Compare that to some other big name players who were maybe asked to come off the bench. Russell Westbrook for example tried to make it seem like coming off the bench was the reason he tweaked his hamstring a few days ago because it messed up his routine. Kawhi was basically like
"Eh, whatever. I'll go in when I go in no big deal"
That's a leader folks. That combination of skill level and mentality is why the Clippers are cool with letting Kawhi do whatever he wants when it comes to his playing time/availability. One of the best parts about Kawhi is the fact that he's one of the best two way players the league has ever seen and he barely even likes the sport
There's just something about this that I can't get enough of. It's almost as if being one of the best players in the NBA is a side hustle for Kawhi or something. Imagine being that freaking good at something. Must be nice.
For the Clippers to finally be able to get over the hump, it's really all going to come down to health. We know they have the talent. Kawhi/PG13 are as legit a #1/#2 as you'll find in the league. They have the deepest roster in the league with John Wall looking great already. You could make the case they don't even really need Kawhi for the regular season to still be really good, which is why in my opinion he has the best job in the entire league.
Kawhi's contract pays him $42M this season, which is a decent chunk of change you could say. Normally when a player has that kind of deal, they are in the lineup every night. Kawhi?
It may be early in the season, but there's obviously no reason to put any additional stress on Kawhi's knee as he works his way back. He basically invented load management. In what other world can you make that kind of money and only work like half the time. The thing is, it makes complete sense! The Clippers would be stupid to go about this any other way! That's why I think Kawhi has the best job in sports. When he's on the floor, he's incredible. He's paid like a franchise guy yet doesn't have to worry about the grind of the regular season. He's already won a couple rings and a couple ofFinals MVPs, so what can you say? Nothing. It does suck if you're an out of market fan and you were hoping to see Kawhi play in a game he's sitting, but that's not exactly new.
When you think about it, Kawhi is kind of living the dream. He gets to play a sport for a living, he makes millions, he can play when he wants, and nobody can say shit to him because he's an all time great. I think we all would love that setup. Imagine your own job. What if it paid you 1000000000x more and you only had to work 50% as hard as you do now, but everyone still talked about you like you were the greatest employee in the company's history? That'd be pretty sweet right?
That's Kawhi, only his company is a team that many think can win the NBA title. They basically just have to keep him loose until the Spring. At this point in his career Kawhi isn't there for October-April. He's there for April-June.
Not a bad gig if you can get it.