Toronto Raptors: Kawhi Leonard’s playoff run is one of the greatest of all-time

TORONTO, ONTARIO - MAY 25: Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - MAY 25: Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images). /

Elite company

Kawhi Leonard is one of six players to ever average 31 in a single postseason with a least 17 games played. The other five players are Jerry West, Michael Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Allen Iverson, and LeBron James. That is quite the company to be in when it comes to playoff greatness.

He has scored 30 or more in 11 of the 18 games he has played in this postseason. The only players to do that more than he did prior to the NBA Finals was MJ in 1989 (13) and 1990 (12), and Hakeem Olajuwon in 1995 (12).

Leonard also has seven games scoring 35+, which makes him the sixth person to ever do that in the playoffs. The others on that list are some of the games’ best offensive talents including Elgin Baylor, Bernard King, LeBron James, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Michael Jordan.

These stats not only show Kawhi’s greatness compared to other memorable postseason runs, but it also shows that Kawhi has carried the Raptors offensively, giving them points in bunches.

The play of Kawhi in the clutch has been another area of greatness for him in the postseason. In clutch time, defined as the last five minutes of a five-point game, Kawhi has averaged 5.4 points per game. That is ranked first among active players.

We’ve all been witnesses to the Klaw in the clutch, as he has hit several key bucks for Toronto in intense situations, none bigger than the first Game 7 buzzer-beat in playoff history against the Philadelphia 76ers.

What the Klaw has done in terms of Toronto Raptors playoff history is quite astounding as well. In just 17 games Kawhi has entered the top 10 when it comes to playoff points, assists, rebounds, steals, three-pointers.

Since 2000, Kawhi is the third player to lead their team in scoring in the postseason and get them to the Finals in their first year with the team. Jason Kidd and LeBron are the other two players.

Offensively, there are some great historical comps. However, it’s Kawhi’s performance on the defensive end which sets him apart from the rest.