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2019 Top 10 NBA Players, #1 Kawhi Leonard

Our NBA Players' biographies include information on the top current NBA pros, and this list definitely includes a Kawhi Leonard Biography.

Leonard is a future Hall of Famer NBA player that current plays for the Los Angeles Clippers.

Kawhi Leonard Biography: Awards

Leonard is the recipient of many NBA honors:

  • He’s a 2-time NBA champion, getting titles with both the Spurs and the Raptors in 2014 and 2019 respectively.
  • Leonard also won the NBA Finals MVP honors during those two championship series.
  • Kawhi is also a 3-time NBA All-Star (2016, 2017, 2019).
  • He also won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year award two times (2015, 2016).

Professional Career

Here’s a quick recount of Leonard’s NBA career to date:

San Antonio Spurs

Leonard began his professional career back in 2011, when he got drafted as 15th overall during that year’s NBA Draft, but he got traded to San Antonio the very same day.

And he got his lucky moment when Richard Jefferson got traded to the Warriors for Stephen Jackson…

This move allowed Leonard to take on the starting small forward position role, with Jackson serving as his season backup.

That first year in the league, Leonard finished fourth in the voting for the Rookie of the Year award, and was also named as part of the 2012 NBA All-Rookie First Team.

And also during 2012, Kawhi became part of the USA men’s basketball team that played at the Olympic games, earning a gold medal with teammates such as Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Chris Paul.

NBA Finals and First Title

And, it was also during the 2012-13 season that Leonard had its first taste of the NBA Finals.

At that time, the Spurs managed to make it to the last game of the postseason, where they faced the Heat.

San Antonio end up losing this series in seven games, allowing Miami to crown themselves champs.

But the following year the Spurs got their revenge, as they faced the Heat once again in the Finals.

Leonard showed his skills and potential during Game 3 as he finished that match with a career-high 29 points, in what turned out to be a 111-92 win for San Antonio.

Then, the Spurs went on to claim the NBA title after defeating Miami 4-1.

Leonard was outstanding throughout this series and claimed the NBA Finals MVP for the first time in his career.

He was actually the second-youngest player (22) in the history of the league to acquire these honors, just behind Magic Johnson (20).

After spending some successful years in San Antonio, the 2017-18 season proved to be very decisive for Leonard.

The reason is that he acquired a right quadriceps injury, and that led him to miss the first 27 matches of the season.

This injury involved some controversy, as the team wanted Leonard to get back in the court sooner than Leonard’s private doctors recommended.

And this dissatisfaction related to the Spurs’ injury rehabilitation program led the player to request a trade from the team.

Toronto Raptors

Then, on July 2018, Leonard got traded to the Raptors, a franchise that took him in despite some concerns about his health.

His time with Toronto definitely began on a positive note for Leonard.

He scored 24 and 31 points on his first two matches with the Raptors against the Cavs and the Celtics respectively.

And he experienced a career-high streak of scoring at least 20 points in 22 matches in a row, which finished when he scored 16 points during a 105-92 loss to the Bucks on January 31st, 2019.

2019 Playoffs and Second Title

Leonard started the playoffs outstandingly!

He finished with a career-high 45 points in what it was the first game of the Raptors Eastern Conference semifinals series versus the Sixers, which Toronto won 108-95.

Then, during game seven, the performance of Leonard went from brilliant to miraculous.

This is because Kawhi managed to score a shot from the corner at the buzzer of the fourth quarter of game seven of this series.

The game was tied at 90, and that shot gave Toronto their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they played the Bucks.

Leonard’s numbers were once again outstanding during this series, especially during Game 3, as he finished with 36 points, scoring 8 out of those during the second overtime, in what finished in a 118-112 win for Toronto.

And then, Leonard scored 35 more points during a Game 5, 105-99 win for the Raptors, which allowed Toronto to take a 3-2 lead in the series.

Kawhi’s numbers were also very positive during Game 6, scoring 27 points, allowing his team to win the game 100-94, and leading the Raptors to the NBA Finals.

The next series for Toronto was versus the Warriors, a team that was a heavy favorite to repeat as NBA champions for a second straight year.

But nobody knew what the Raptors had in storage for Golden State!

Leonard put up some amazing numbers, starting with 34 points in a 109-104, Game 2 loss to the Warriors.

Then, he scored another 36 points during Game 4, which the Raptors won 105-92, allowing Toronto to take a 3-1 lead in the series.

Later on, he scored 22 points in Game 6, which allowed Toronto to win that match by 114 to 110, leading the Raptors to a 4-2 series victory.

This made it possible for the franchise from Toronto to claim their first title in the history of this franchise.

And it also allowed Leonard to claim the NBA MVP Finals for the second time during his career.

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