The Los Angeles Clippers have the third-best record in the NBA at 24-12, and a lot of it has been thanks to the play of Kawhi Leonard. His teammate, Paul George, believes the superstar forward should be getting more attention when it comes to MVP talks.
So far this season, Leonard is averaging 26.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.6 steals per game on 51.1 percent shooting from the field, 38.9 percent from beyond the arc, and 87.4 percent from the free-throw line. And yet, for whatever reason, he hasn’t been mentioned with the league’s best this season in talks for the award, which currently features candidates such as Joel Embiid, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Nikola Jokic, among others.
“I mean, I don’t know whether he’s not flashy to people, but he’s effective when you talk about a guy who is 100 percent committed to winning and winning at all costs,” Paul George said of Leonard. “You got to take that into account. The MVP is about the most valuable player. And this team wouldn’t be where we are at without Kawhi on that floor.”
Leonard has been flirting with 50/40/90 this season while averaging near-career-high marks across the board. On the season, Leonard is one of just five players in the NBA averaging at least 26 points, six rebounds, and four assists per game. The other four? Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, Luka Doncic, and Nikola Jokic. Unfortunately, he’s also the least flashy of the bunch, which is also something that seemingly factors into the decision.
“He is just super reliable, super effective,” George added. “It is almost calming having him on the floor knowing whenever things get rocky, teams make runs, he’s the guy that kind of just settles things and kind of just on his own slows the game down. He does a really good job of just controlling the game. So I don’t know if the roster is the reason why he’s not getting the votes or not getting the recognition. There’s a lot of guys ahead of him that have pretty good rosters as well. Hopefully his resume over this year, the media voters, whoever makes that call will take that into account.”
“This team wouldn’t be where we are without Kawhi on that floor. I don’t know if the roster is the reason why he’s not getting the votes or recognition. There’s a lot of guy ahead of him that have pretty good rosters as well.”
Paul George on Kawhi Leonard’s MVP case. pic.twitter.com/zb6pZQBmwQ
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) February 27, 2021
The Clippers have somewhat struggled to win games that require clutch situations, which many have used as an indicator that Leonard shouldn’t be in the conversation for MVP, but the team has also played the second-fewest clutch minutes in the league.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will lead their Clippers into a showdown against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night. It’ll be the second-to-last game of the first half for a Clippers squad that is 10-1 this season in games coming after a loss.