The Clippers’ season might have ended last Tuesday in ignominious fashion, but the NBA regular season awards weren’t finalized until Friday. And, while most of the team was left out, forward Kawhi Leonard did make the 2nd Team All-NBA and received enough votes to place 5th in the MVP Voting.
While Kawhi might have gone out with more of a whimper than a bang, utterly failing to put the Clippers on his back in a winner-take-all Game 7, he still put together one of the best seasons in franchise history, and was recognized for it. In 57 regular season games, Kawhi averaged 27.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 1.8 steals on 47/37.8/88.6 shooting splits, and played some excellent defense. He was even better for much of the postseason, though his three-point shooting was off in the playoffs, and was a worthy recipient of the All-NBA and MVP votes.
Kawhi was never going to reach the 1st Team this season, as the forward spots were taken by Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James (1st and 2nd in MVP voting respectively), but he did finish with only 44 fewer points than Luka Doncic, who made the 1st team.
Similarly, he accumulated 168 MVP “points” through 9 3rd place, 31 4th place, and 30 5th place votes, coming in just shy of Luka with his 200 points. In short, Kawhi was widely recognized as one of the 5 or so best players in basketball, which is exactly where he should be.
Kawhi Leonard presumably doesn’t care about All-NBA recognition, especially due to how the Clippers’ season ended, but it is a good reminder that the Clippers still have one of the best players in the entire NBA for next season. If nothing else, that puts them in a great spot to bounce back and contend for an NBA championship in the 2021 season.