Kawhi Leonard Will Be Used in Triangle Like Jordan, Kobe, Per Clippers HC Ty Lue

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistDecember 20, 2020

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Kyusung Gong)
Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

It's hard to top Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant when looking for players to emulate at the NBA level, and the Los Angeles Clippers will do just that with Kawhi Leonard during the 2020-21 season.

As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN shared, Clippers head coach Ty Lue said the plan is to install some triangle sets for Leonard since he has studied the midrange approaches of Jordan and Bryant in such offensive looks.

"We have put in two or three sets from the triangle and let Kawhi play in those spaces where Kobe and Jordan played in those spots as well," Lue said. "[Leonard] loves those two players. He really respects and looks up to those guys, so we're just trying to put him in positions [to succeed]. I was able to play with both those guys, but I also played in the triangle, so just trying to teach him that as well as teaching our team as well."

Youngmisuk noted Leonard's 325 mid-range attempts ranked fourth in the league last season, and it wouldn't be a surprise to see him attempt even more this season with Lue emphasizing such attempts in the triangle for his star player.

"I think it's a lost art," Lue said. "I'm a firm believer in, 'why not work on what teams are giving up?' Every team wants to give up the mid-range shot, the mid-range 2s, and why not continue to work on the shots that teams are giving up."

It should be noted there is a common thread in place linking Lue's Clippers to the triangle.

The former point guard played under head coach Phil Jackson on the Los Angeles Lakers during his NBA career. Jackson frequently utilized the triangle during his coaching days, famously using it with Jordan on the Chicago Bulls and Bryant on the Lakers.

MJ and Kobe combined for 11 championships under Jackson, so clearly something the coach did was right.

Whether Leonard and the Clippers can bounce back from last season's disappointing finish will be one of the biggest storylines of the NBA year. Los Angeles blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the playoffs and never earned a chance at the Lakers in the highly anticipated Western Conference Finals.

It may be up to Leonard's ability to succeed in the triangle if the Clippers are going to challenge for a championship in Lue's first season at the helm.


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