Our staff roundtable player reviews continue with a look at Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers’ superstar who missed the entirety of the 2022 season. Therefore, instead of grades, we are each stating what we’re most excited for about Kawhi’s return in 2023.

Kenneth Armstrong

I am looking forward to “Terminator Kawhi” this season. Seeing the Suns crumble (a team he could have beaten last year if he was healthy), the Mavs make the conference finals (a team he’s crushed twice), and the Warriors poised to make the finals again (a team he slayed a few years ago) must make Kawhi even more motivated than he already naturally is. What’s more, the emerging stars of this playoff—Luka, Ja, Tatum, even Ingram—are all guys who are elite offensively but are not yet totally complete stars (Tatum is getting there, but I digress). Kawhi, who will only be 31 at the start of next season, has an opportunity to remind everyone what a true two-way superstar looks like. I can’t wait to see him remind the league who he can be! 

Shapan Debnath

I stopped watching Kawhi highlights after the injury last year. I’m watching them again, and I know this dude is working hard. I am very very excited for this revenge season coming up. I think it is going to be one to remember.

Erik Olsgaard

Next season, I can’t wait to see what Kawhi’s presence will add in terms of lineup adaptability. Kawhi does so much, in so many aspects of the game, that he can fit into almost any lineup configuration. And that means the Clippers will have answers to any team’s “death lineup” (as well as a few different death lineups of their own—yes, plural). On next year’s roster, I count 6 players who can defend 3+ positions and knock down threes (Kawhi, Norman, PG, Nico, RoCo, Mook). Need some athleticism? Enter Terence and Amir. Need more shooting/playmaking? Toss in some Reggie and Luke. Size? Zu (and hopefully Hartenstein) are right there. It’s to the point where I’m having trouble thinking of a realistic lineup that won’t work on the court when both Kawhi and PG are healthy. The Clippers are already rich in the two-way-wing department, probably the most valuable commodity in the current NBA. So bringing back the king of all two-way-wings to lead them is going to be a lot of fun.

Robert Flom

It’s so simple, but I’m just excited for Kawhi’s scoring and shotmaking. With Paul George missing much of the year, and Norm Powell out nearly the entirety of his Clippers’ tenure to date, the 2022 Clippers were often short on offensive punch. God bless Reggie Jackson, but I’ve had enough of number one option Reggie for a lifetime. Enter Kawhi Leonard, a player who’s averaged over 26 points per game across the last three seasons he played on excellent efficiency, and who can get a decent shot against almost any defender. Kawhi’s ability to score from the midrange and three while also getting to the line will boost the Clippers’ offense by a massive margin, hopefully back to the top 5 realm of the 2020 and 2021 seasons.

David Mendez-Yapkowitz

The biggest thing I’m looking forward to seeing from Kawhi Leonard is him regaining his position as one of the top 3-5 players in the NBA. During the 2021 playoffs before his injury, he certainly looked like one. Very few players can do what he does on both ends of the floor. It’s obviously going to take him a bit to really get back up to game speed, but there’s a reason why a healthy Clippers team is widely considered to be a championship favorite.

What are you all most excited for from Kawhi Leonard in the 2022-2023 season?

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