Luka Doncic named to All-NBA First Team

Mavericks guard Luka Dončić was named to the 2019-20 All-NBA First Team, the league announced on Wednesday. Dončić was joined on the All-NBA First Team by LeBron James(unanimous), Giannis Antetokounmpo(unanimous), James Harden, and Anthony Davis.

Dončić, who was 21 years, 168 days old on the final day of the 2019-20 regular season (Aug. 14), becomes the sixth player to earn All-NBA First Team honors at age 21-or-younger, along with LeBron James (2006), Max Zaslofsky (1947), Kevin Durant (2010), Tim Duncan (1998) and Rick Barry (1966). James (21 years, 110 days) and Zaslofsky (21 years, 114 days) are the only players to achieve the feat at a younger age than Dončić. In fact, if the season would have ended on its originally scheduled date (April 15), Dončić would have been the youngest to ever do it.

The second-year guard becomes the first player named to the All-NBA First Team in either his first or second season since Duncan in 1998-99 (Duncan made the First Team in each of his first eight seasons from 1997-98 to 2004-05).

Dončić averaged 28.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists in 54 games before to the restart (through March 11). The 2018-19 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year saw his numbers increase in the bubble, as he nearly averaged a 30-point triple-double (30.0 ppg, 10.7 rpg, 9.7 apg) in Orlando en route to being named a unanimous Kia NBA All-Seeding Games First Team selection. Dončić finished the regular season with averages of 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists in 61 games (all starts), becoming just the third player in NBA history to average at least 28-9-8 for a full season (Oscar Robertson, Russell Westbrook).

The 21-year-old recorded a league-high 17 triple-doubles in 2019-20, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to lead the league outright in the category. Dončić not only broke Jason Kidd’s Mavericks single-season triple-double record (nine in 1995-96), but he became the franchise’s all-time leader in the category as well (25). Twelve of his triple-doubles were of the 30-point variety, and he again joined Robertson and Westbrook as one of three players to record at least 12 30-point triple-doubles in a single season.

Dončić also finished the season as the league leader in 25-point, 10-rebound, 15-assist games (five), 30-10-7 efforts (18) and 20-5-5 games (50).

Dončić ranked sixth in scoring (28.8 ppg), 17th in rebounding (9.4 rpg) and third in assists (8.8 apg). He became the seventh player since the ABA/NBA merger (1976-77) to finish a season ranked in the top-20 among qualifiers in scoring, rebounding and assists (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Grant Hill, Kevin Garnett, James, Westbrook).

Voting for the 2019-20 All-NBA Teams was based on games played through March 11 (prior to the hiatus).

 

2019-20 NBA All-NBA Second Team:

Kawhi Leonard (L.A. Clippers)

Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets)

Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)

Chris Paul (Oklahoma City Thunder)

Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors)

 

2019-20 NBA All-NBA Third Team:

Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics)

Jimmy Butler (Miami Heat)

Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz)

Ben Simmons (Philadelphia 76ers)

Russell Westbrook (Houston Rockets)

Doncic on Kawhi Leonard: ‘He is hard to stop, almost impossible to stop’

On Sunday, the Los Angeles Clippers were finally able to put the Dallas Mavericks away and advance to the Western Conference semifinals, but it wasn’t without a fight. The Clippers led the game by as much as 23 points in the second half, but the Mavericks were able to cut the lead to six in the fourth quarter. Then, Kawhi Leonard took over.

The two-time Finals’ MVP would score on four consecutive possessions for the Clippers in the fourth quarter. He would go 4-4 with 8 points in the final quarter and finished with 33 points, 14 rebounds, seven assists, and five steals in 40 minutes, as the Clippers defeated the Mavericks 111-97 in Game 6 to win the series 4-2. With the victory, the Clippers will play the winner of the Jazz-Nuggets series.

This was Leonard’s fifth straight playoff game with at least 30 points, marking a new career-long. According to the Clippers, Leonard is the first player in franchise history to notch at least 30 points and five steals in a playoff game.

“You can tell he was the one guy that shoots to close out a series,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “He was calm. He got us in place.”

Leonard is a great player, and at times, he can be unstoppable, which Luka Doncic noted after the game.

“He is an amazing player,” Doncic said. “He shows up every game. He is hard to stop, almost impossible to stop. Like I said, he is an amazing player, and a lot of people look up to him.”

Paul George struggled at times in the series against the Mavericks, but Leonard was able to pick up the slack for the Clippers, and now Los Angeles is one step closer to an NBA title.

“You always celebrate,” Leonard said about winning their first-round series against Dallas. “You could be going home right now. It’s one step closer to where we want to get to, so it’s a good accomplishment that we got out of the first round. We enjoy it tonight, and we get ready for the next thing tomorrow.”

From top to bottom, the Clippers probably have the most talented team in the NBA. Their depth is impressive, and they have maybe the best player in the game in Leonard, so with Leonard and George leading the way, anything short of an NBA title would be a disappointment for the Clippers.

Luka on Kawhi: ‘He’s always in the zone’

The Clippers signed Kawhi Leonard for the situation we saw on Friday night. Leonard, who came to the Clippers after leading the Raptors to an NBA title last season, had 36 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists, as the Clippers defeated the Mavericks 130-122 to take 2-1 lead in their best of seven first-round series. 

When he is flowing, Leonard is tough to stop. On Friday, he set a franchise record by scoring 100 points in the first three games of the playoffs, and after the game, the Mavericks reacted to Leonard’s greatness.

“He’s always in the zone. He’s a top-three player in the league,” Luka Doncic, who had a triple-double on Friday night, said after the game. “It’s really tough to stop him. He’s an amazing player, amazing defender. It’s really hard to stop him. I think Maxi [Kleber] is doing an amazing job, DoeDoe[Dorian Finney-Smith]. It’s just hard. He’s an amazing player.”

Tim Hardaway jr. on Leonard:

“Kawhi is going to do what Kawhi does out there on the floor, but we have to give their supporting cast a pat on the back. They did a great job of knocking down their shots, open or contested, and taking advantage of their matchups and just being aggressive out there on the floor. So the difference between last game and this game is when the bench came out and when the other players got involved, they made the most of it, and they took advantage of the opportunity.”

Seth Curry on Leonard:

“It is just tough. We were playing good defense, and he was making shots over us. When we played even better defense and felt like we got to the front of him, he got to the foul line. It was tough. We have to make adjustments, come back next game, stick our game plan, and try to be even better. Tonight, it was just going in; we have to take something away. Tonight we didn’t take anything away from him. He got everything he wanted, and they put him at the foul line.”

With the uncertainty of Doncic after he left and returned and left again due to an ankle injury, the Mavericks could be in trouble moving forward. Still, Friday was  all about the greatness of Kawhi Leonard. 

 

Kawhi Leonard named Western Conference Player of the Week

The NBA today announced that L.A. Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard has been named Western Conference Player of the Week for Week 13 (games played Monday, January 13 through Sunday, January 19). This is Leonard’s seventh career Player of the Week Award – first since Week 13 in 2019 (January 7-13, 2019).

Leonard, who is on a five-game streak of 30+ points, helped lead the Clippers to a 3-0 week averaging 38.0 points, 5.0 assists, and 4.7 rebounds, in addition to shooting splits of 58.6% from the field and 52.4% from three-point range. Against the Cleveland Cavaliers on January 14, Leonard became the third player in the shot-clock era to score 43+ points in under 29 minutes played.

On January 16 against the Orlando Magic, Leonard became the fourth player in franchise history to have 35+ points, 5+ rebounds, 5+ assists and 5+ steals and joined World B. Free and Bob McAdoo as the only players in franchise history to score 30+ points in five or more consecutive games.

In his ninth NBA season, Leonard is averaging career-highs in points (26.9) and assists (5.1). The Clippers currently rank second in the Western Conference with a 30-13 record and have won seven of their last nine games.

Clippers will have 26 nationally-televised games next season

With the excitement surrounding the Los Angeles Clippers after signing Kawhi Leonard and trading for Paul George, you knew that we would see a lot of their games on national television. The L.A. Clippers tip off the 2019-20 NBA regular season, pon Tuesday, October 22 at STAPLES Center, hosting the Los Angeles Lakers at 7:30 p.m. P.T. on TNT. This game marks the first of the Clippers’ franchise-high 26 nationally-televised games across ABC, ESPN, and TNT.

The Clippers will play seven of their first 10 regular season games at home, highlighted by Opening Night, as well as match-ups against the Milwaukee Bucks (Nov. 6) and the Portland Trailblazers (Nov.7).

The Clippers’ 26 nationally-televised games are comprised of four ABC broadcasts, 11 TNT broadcasts and 11 ESPN broadcasts including the Clippers’ Christmas Day bout against the Los Angeles Lakers.

This season, L.A. will play 13 back-to-back games and travel a total of 46,333 miles, including the team’s longest road trip, a six-game, eleven-day trip from January 18-28. The longest homestretch for the team is five games from October 31-November 11.

The Clippers face every team in the Western Conference a total of four times (two home and two away), with the exception of the Dallas Mavericks, the Denver Nuggets, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Portland Trailblazers, who they play three times each.

The L.A. Clippers 2019-20 regular season schedule can be found HERE.

Clips’ Frank: ‘We are grateful and honored that Kawhi Leonard has decided to come home’

Kawhi Leonard is coming home, and fortunately for the Los Angeles Clippers, it will be with them. The Moreno Valley, California-native has officially signed with the Clippers, the team announced today.

According to ESPN, Leonard signed a three-year, $103.1 million deal that includes a player option for the 2021-22 season, the source said. He will make $32.74 million next season, $34.37 million in 2020-21 and $36.01 million in the player-option season.

“This is a historic moment for our organization and our fans,” said Frank. “We are grateful and honored that Kawhi Leonard has decided to come home and join the L.A. Clippers. Kawhi is a peerless two-way player, a relentless worker and a natural fit for the serious, professional culture our group has established. He wins everywhere he goes, and he always has, from King High School to San Diego State to the NBA. Having him on our side is a tremendous privilege and a massive responsibility, one we will take very seriously. His expectation, and ours, is to contend for championships.”

Leonard, 28, averaged 30.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.9 assists for the Toronto Raptors last season in 24 playoff games en route to an NBA Championship and Finals MVP honor. During the 2018-19 regular season, the three-time All-Star averaged 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

In his career, the two-time defensive Player of the Year (2016, 2015) has averaged 17.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.4 assists over 467 games with the Raptors and San Antonio Spurs. Leonard also won an NBA Championship and captured Finals MVP with the Spurs in 2013-14. The 6’7″ forward has been voted All-NBA First Team twice (2017, 2016), All-NBA Second Team once (2019), and All-Defensive First Team three times (2017, 2016, 2015).

Report: Leonard, George to the Clippers

The Los Angeles Clippers have just broken the internet. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Clippers will sign free agent Kawhi Leonard, but it does not stop there. The Clippers have acquired OKC’s Paul George in exchange for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and four unprotected first-round picks, one protected first-round pick, and two pick swaps, according to Wojnarowski.

This is a stunner. Many believed Leonard was going to sign with either the Lakers or Raptors, but in the end, the Clippers got it done.

There is going to be a lot of great basketball at Staples Center next season.

Cris Carter: Kawhi will not make decision today

Six days into NBA free agency, and we still do not know where Kawhi Leonard will play next season, and according to NFL Hall of Famer and Leonard confidant, Cris Carter, we won’t find out today.

Here is what Carter tweeted out today:

Leonard can get the most money and years if he stays in Toronto. He can sign a five-year, $190 million deal with the Raptors. The 28-year-old NBA Finals MVP could also sign a two-year contract with Toronto, which would get Leonard to 10 years of service, and will allow him to sign for the highest max deal in 2021.

At this point, it seems it will come down to the Lakers and Raptors, but in reality, who knows. I guess we might have to wait until tomorrow.

Kenny Smith on Kawhi Leonard: ‘Without question, he’s gotta take his time’

The first day of free agency in the NBA saw a lot of big names come off the board. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving went to Brooklyn, Jimmy Butler went to Miami, and Kemba Walker went to Boston, but there is still one big name out there, and that is NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, and according to reports, it seems it will come down to the Clippers, Lakers, and Raptors. Where will he go? Who knows, but according to TNT NBA analyst Kenny Smith, Leonard needs to take his time.

“I think he really has to take his time, honestly because he doesn’t have the opportunity to make this decision again,” Smith told TMZ Sports about Leonard. “This is the biggest decision for him at this stage of his life and his career that he can’t just make that decision that quickly. Kevin Durant and all those guys have had big contracts before. This is his first huge, mega contract, so, without question, he’s gotta take his time.”

Leonard is more than likely going to get a max contract wherever he goes, but he can get an extra year and more guaranteed money if he decides to stay in Toronto. Also, he will have a chance to help the Raptors defend their NBA title. If he does go to the Lakers and joins LeBron and Anthony Davis, obviously that would be a tough team to beat.

Leonard’s last big contract came in 2015 when he signed a max contract at five-years, $94 million with San Antonio. Leonard is always composed on the court and can get to all his spots while taking his time and staying under control, and he seems to be handling free agency in the same manner. He’ll make his decision, but only when he is ready to do so.

Nate Robinson on Kawhi: ‘He’s like a robotic Michael Jordan'(VIDEO)

The 2019 NBA playoffs showed the world that Kawhi Leonard is still one of the best players in the game. He had 14 games of 30 points or more, which is the most since LeBron James did it in 2017; he helped the Raptors win their first NBA title, and he walked away with his second Finals MVP.  Leonard now joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and LeBron James as the only players to win Finals MVP with multiple teams.

Before playing in only nine games last season with the Spurs, due to injury, Leonard was considered by many to be the best two-way player in the game, but at this point, he might be the best player in the game, so says NBA free agent Nate Robinson.

“He’s definitely one of the best, if not the best,” Robinson told Paul Gant at the American Flag Football League Championship in New Jersey on Sunday.  “I’ve been telling people the whole time before this season when he came into the league he was like a Michael Jordan type player, but he’s like more of a robot,  so he’s like a robotic Michael Jordan. I call him “Terminator Jordan” for a reason. People were laughing, ‘All yeah, you don’t know what you’re talking about.’ Ok cool, now look at what he’s doing, you crazy.”

Leonard will be a free agent in the offseason, and at this point, no one knows where he will go. However, if it were up to Robinson, Leonard would stay in Toronto.

“I don’t know; I hope he stays in Toronto,” Robinson said. “Whatever team he’s on, is definitely gonna have a chance to win championships.”

These playoffs have definitely set Leonard apart, and he has a legitimate argument as the best player in the game. At times, he single-handily willed Toronto through the playoffs.

No matter where Leonard goes, the Raptors can be happy that they got a championship out of the deal.

Listen below as Robinson talks AFFL championship, Kawhi Leonard, and more: