A number of players are showing how great they are throughout the 2019 NBA playoffs, but very few have been at the level of Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard has been unreal in these playoffs for the Toronto Raptors, averaging 32.3 points and 7.7 rebounds while shooting a ridiculous 58.7% from the field and 50% from the three-point line.
Leonard has been even better in the team’s conference semifinals series against the Philadelphia 76ers. He is up to 38.0 points on 61.8% shooting so far in the series as his 39-point and 14-rebound performance gave the Raptors a massive Game 4 road victory to even the series.
Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown has has seen plenty of the NBA’s greatest scorers up close and personal over the years, and he brought up Kobe Bryant when discussing Leonards’s performance so far, via Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com:
“The stuff that he can do to create his own shot is Kobe-like, for me,” Brown said. “He’s just so gifted in relation to doing that.”
Brown spent years as a San Antonio Spurs assistant coach, so he had plenty of experience trying to gameplan against a player like Bryant who could make even the best defense look terrible. Leonard is doing the same thing to the 76ers so far in their series as he is carrying them on his back trying to advance to the 2019 NBA Finals.
Legends are built in the playoffs as has been proven time and again. Bryant has so many memorable playoff moments and they usually come with him creating and getting his shot off despite all the efforts of the defense. Leonard has already begun building his playoff legend with the 2014 NBA Finals MVP under his belt and if he continues to have performances like this, the comparisons to the likes of Bryant, Michael Jordan and others will continue.