Kawhi Leonard's Game 2 Was One of the Most Efficient in NBA History
It's unfair to say that people doubted Kawhi Leonard entering the NBA back in 2011.
He was considered one of the best wing players in the draft class, but his offense was a real problem.
Whether it was the eye test (Leonard "does not have one aspect offensively that stands out or which allows him to consistently score the ball") or the numbers (just 0.889 points per possession and the worst effective field goal percentage in the class among 17 wings studied), Leonard still had a way to go, yet it seemed evident that his ceiling was high if he could put it all together.
But we've heard that plenty. If he ends up fixing his weaknesses, he'll be good!
Well, Leonard clearly has found his offense by now, and his Game 2 performance against the Memphis Grizzlies was just more proof of it.
Leonard scored 37 points on just 14 field goal attempts (and was 19 of 19 at the free-throw line).
Since 1983-84, only 16 players have scored that many points on so few field goal attempts, per Basketball Reference. Reggie Miller did it twice, for what it's worth.
Now, seven of those games came without a three-point make (Leonard was 0 for 2), but the only non-centers to do it were Leonard and Rolando Blackman. Moses Malone, Dwight Howard, Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O'Neal, and Rony Seikaly did it as centers.
Only that list -- Malone, Howard, Mourning, O'Neal, Seikaly -- and Kevin Love also scored that efficiently while posting at least 10 rebounds. Leonard had 11 boards.
Of course, this efficiency is much more welcomed in a win, and now the San Antonio Spurs hold a 2-0 lead over Memphis. Our algorithms give San Antonio a 94.09% chance to advance, and they have a 21.1% chance to win the Finals, the second-best odds in the NBA.
Leonard won't win the MVP award, but let this game serve as a reminder that Kawhi has become one of the most efficient scorers in the NBA and that his team -- a legitimate title contender -- scores 115.4 points per 100 possessions with him on the court (second only to Golden State's 115.6 on the year) and just 105.2 without him (which would rank 27th in the NBA).