Isiah Thomas reveals what Kawhi Leonard has figured out how to do in limited minutes
The L.A. Clippers have gotten off to a 3-1 start to the 2019-20 regular season, and Kawhi Leonard’s play has been a big reason for it. Leonard is averaging 27 points, 6.5 rebounds, 7.54 assists, 1.8 steals, and 1.3 blocks per game on 52 percent shooting from the field and 37 percent from beyond the arc.
What Leonard has put on display so far is nothing short of his usual dominance, but Detroit Pistons legend Isiah Thomas says there’s something different about the two-time NBA Finals MVP.
Speaking on NBA TV prior to the network’s double-header, Thomas says Leonard has found a new way to dominate the game.
“Kawhi has found a way to kill you in five minutes,” Thomas declared. “Some players they try to kill you through 40-to-48 minutes. Kawhi has found a way to look at the game, and say ‘okay, these are the five minutes where I’m just gonna slice you up’ and it’s boom, boom, boom, boom.”
Thomas then noted Leonard’s opening night matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers, where he put up 30 points, six rebounds, and five assists on 10-of-19 shooting. At one point in the second quarter, Leonard scored seven consecutive buckets for the Clippers. Then, he went back to the bench to meet the minutes limitations the team had put on him.
Throughout the first four games, Leonard has played no more than six or seven consecutive minutes, and is averaging the fewest minutes per game (28.8) since his rookie year (24.0)
“He had a quiet 30, but it was four or five minutes where he just seemed like was everywhere doing everything and that’s all that was needed to be done.”
The Clippers plan to keep Leonard at around 30-to-35 minutes throughout the season. Their goal is reaching April, May, and hopefully June as healthy as possible.