LeBron James doesn’t like to talk about the moves other players make. In
a conversation with media members at the beginning of the 2019 season, LeBron
was asked about the reasons Kawhi Leonard had to choose the Los Angeles
“How the hell can I answer that? I don’t f***in know! I don’t know. I don’t know. Ask Kawhi! I’m happy though!” LeBron said.
So, what made Kawhi sign with the Clippers?
“They played with a lot
of confidence and they knew they could play,” Leonard said of the six-game
series. “They wanted to guard everybody on the team at that point. That helped
out (my decision).”
“The fight we showed in that series
absolutely helped in recruiting Paul and Kawhi,” Doc Rivers said. “They saw the grit of the team
and seriousness of it. What player wouldn’t want to join that?”
Said guard Patrick Beverley
said, “It comes with the character of the team. Of course, Doc is a psycho
genius with all of his plays. But that’s the dynamic of our team.”
right. Leonard wanted to create his own brand. Choosing the Lakers would put
him in the shadow of LeBron James and his popularity. Kawhi doesn’t want any of
He finished with 21 points while shooting
9-of-17 from the field. He also had nine assists and six rebounds in 21
minutes. Two days after Kawhi scored
30 points on 12-of-19 shooting in the Clippers’ season-opening win over the Lakers, the Warriors doubled Leonard and
dared him to become a playmaker. That’s
what he did.
The Clippers’ Lou Williams (22
points), Patrick Patterson (20), Montrezl Harrell (18), Ivica Zubac (16 points,
10 rebounds), and Landry Shamet (11 points) also had double figures. As Rivers said, “that
shows the trust he has in his teammates.”
Rivers has words of praise for his star player.
“[Kawhi] was absolutely wonderful. He can score, but he does so many other things. He made so many smart defensive plays, switches, challenges, and deflections. He really made some great passes today as well. His ability to make others better has over the last couple of years has really jumped up. That’s going to help us in the long run. Kawhi is one of those guys who carries onto the practice floor. There’s very few guys who could affect a practice with their temperament.”