Our 2022-2023 player season preview series continues with the Fun Guy himself, Kawhi Leonard.

Basic lnformation

Height: 6’7

Weight: 225 pounds

Position: Small Forward

Age: 31

Years in NBA: 11

Key Stats: Did not play in 2021 season

Contract Status: Second year of a four-year, $176,265,152 million contract that pays $42,492,492 this season


After spending all of last season rehabbing from an ACL tear, the expectation for Kawhi Leonard is quite simple, a return to the All-Star form he’s shown since he’s arrived in Los Angeles.

A healthy Leonard is one of the best players in the league and his presence is what makes the Clippers one of the favorites to win a championship. Few players have his combination of skill on both ends of the court.

Expect the Clippers to play it safe though, at least early on. With such a deep team, the Clippers can afford to give Leonard some rest every now and then and perhaps play him less minutes throughout the season to keep him fresh. Maybe the low-30’s is reasonable in terms of minutes to expect from Leonard.


Leonard is one of the most gifted offensive players in the NBA. He has very strong handles for a player of his size and he uses that along with his strength to bully his way to the rim and put pressure on the defense. During the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons, he averaged around seven free-throw attempts per game. Without him, the Clippers were in desperate need of someone who could consistently attack off the dribble and force the issue.

He is a tremendous shooter as well. His midrange game is one of the absolute best in the league and he does a fantastic job of creating space and getting his shot off. He is a consistent three-point shooter too, having shot in the high-30’s for most of his career.

Since joining the Clippers, the one aspect of Leonard’s game that he’s improved upon and turned it into one of his strengths is his playmaking. He’s become so talented at being able to read the defense and find the open teammate. During his first season with the Clippers, he averaged 4.9 assists and during the 2020-21 season he dished out 5.2. At the time, those were both career-high’s. He’s been asked to be more of a playmaker with the Clippers not really having a true point guard and he’s done a phenomenal job.

And of course, there’s his defense. His combination of strength and quickness allows him to guard multiple positions. He’s isn’t called ‘The Claw’ for nothing. He has incredibly long arms and quick hands and uses them perfectly to disrupt the opposing team’s offense and lock up their best perimeter scorers.


Perhaps the only thing to mention in terms of weaknesses for Leonard is his health. He hasn’t exactly been the most durable guy for the Clippers, having missed all of the 2022 season as well as substantial chunks of the two years prior. But he’s got something to prove this season. As long as the team keeps him fresh and monitors his minutes throughout the season when necessary, he should be okay.


A lot of the excitement in Clipperland to begin this 2023 season comes from the anticipation of seeing Kawhi Leonard, one the league’s best players, back on the court. Leonard is in that rare category of players that can completely transform a team. He elevates his game in the playoffs each year as well. For the Clippers to win a title this season, it will be Leonard who will have to lead the way – and it’s something he’s more than capable of.

David Yapkowitz

David Yapkowitz

David is in his sixth season as credentialed media at Los Angeles Clippers games and second season covering the team for 213 Hoops. He also covers the game at the college and high school levels. When his professional basketball dreams did not materialize, he turned to the next best thing, writing about it.

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