1. Kawhi Leonard – 24th
How you can make any case at all for Kawhi Leonard of the L.A. Clippers to be put above Beal here is quite frankly baffling. Starting with the obvious, and Leonard hasn’t been healthy since moving to Los Angeles back in 2019. In 2021-22, he missed the entire season with an ACL injury.
In the last six seasons, Leonard has played 9, 60, 57, 52, 0 and 52 regular season games for three different organizations. Which is a shame for Leonard – and the league as a whole because he is an incredible talent – but that doesn’t mean Beal’s own ranking should have to suffer here.
The best ability a player can have is availability, and since joining the Clippers, Leonard hasn’t had a lot of it. Alongside Paul George, they have made the Western Conference Finals on one occasion, and that is it. Put another way, and there is no doubt the Clippers would trade Leonard straight up for Beal today.
As it stands they’ve added Russell Westbrook in the hope it can help them, and are currently somehow talking themselves into James Harden. If Leonard played more games than he missed, then the Clippers wouldn’t need to think up these solutions to try and cover up the fact he hasn’t been there when they’ve really needed him.
Really Garland and Holiday should both sit above Leonard, who hasn’t been a factor in the league since leading the Toronto Raptors to their one and only title before the word Covid even existed. That was a long time ago. Beal is one of the 25 best players in the NBA today, and it is the reputation of Leonard alone that sees him on the wrong end of lists like this.