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Is Kawhi Leonard a Top-2 NBA Player?

May 07, 2019 - 11:47 am

(CBS Sports Radio) Kawhi Leonard only played nine games last season, so perhaps the NBA world forgot how good he is. Well, he is reminding everyone this postseason.

Leonard is averaging 38.0 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in the Toronto Raptors' second-round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers, which is tied 2-2.

Where does Leonard rank among NBA players?

"He's top three for sure," The Athletic senior NBA writer Michael Lee said on "Reiter Than You" ahead of Tuesday night's Game 5. "He might be top two. It's not even that there's a lot of separation. If you say that Kevin Durant is the best player in the league -- which is what I believe right now -- I don't think that Kawhi is going to step on the floor and feel like he has to take a backseat to anybody else on the floor. He's going to give you 35 points, but he's also going to be able to lock you up. That's what makes him such an imposing figure. He's like the Terminator out there because he can score at will, but then he can make sure that you don't get a shot off."

And he does it -- all of it -- with almost no emotion.

"He'll do it in such cold-blooded fashion," Lee said. "He's not going to taunt you. He's not going to dance in your face after he hits a shot. He's going to do it in a very nonchalant manner like, 'Yeah, you can't touch me. You're just going to have to deal with it.'"