Kawhi Leonard is a superstar. He’s the closest player to Kobe Bryant we’ve ever seen. I can say that without getting fined for tampering, unlike Doc Rivers.
Leonard’s performance in the playoffs for the Toronto Raptors is unbelievable. When he’s on the court, the Raptors have a plus/minus of +6.9 (highest on the team) and a NetRtg of +8.7 (highest on the team). When he’s off the court, the Raptors have a plus/minus of -1.9 (lowest on the team) and a NetRtg of -8.9 (lowest on the team). Clearly, he’s a huge difference maker when on the court, and the type of transcendent presence that can help lead a franchise to the finals.
Now, there are a lot of rumors that have flown around about Leonard, like Woj reporting back in 2018 that Kawhi Leonard “wants to be a Laker,” Woj also reported that the Clippers were “emerging as a front-runner for Kawhi Leonard,” and lastly, according to David Thorpe of TrueHoop, there are some who think Leonard has already decided to re-sign with the Raptors, “at least on a short-term deal.”
If anything, this just demonstrates that nobody really seems to know what Leonard wants. He’s the hardest player to read in the NBA. He could have his mind made up already for what team he wants to sign with this summer. All I know is, if he were to sign with the Lakers, he’d help improve a lot of things the Lakers struggled with last season.
According to Synergy, there were three play types the Lakers really struggled with on offense last season: as the pick and roll ball handler (25th in the league), coming off screens (29th in the league), and on spot-ups (27th in the league). In the playoffs, Leonard has a synergy rating of excellent on all three of those. If you don’t believe me, watch the above video for yourself.
Like I said, no one truly knows what Leonard’s plans are this summer. There are reasons why he would want to join the Lakers — the opportunity to play with another superstar in LeBron James and moving back to his hometown, among other possible factors — and reasons for him to want to go elsewhere. I don’t know what he’ll do. All I know is I can’t wait for free agency to begin already so we can find out.