Remember this summer when people were questioning if Kawhi was worth young talent? If the Celtics should give up Rozier or Brown for maybe only a year of Kawhi? Don’t get me wrong, I’m the leader of the Jaylen Brown fan club, but this is Kawhi Leonard. A two time runner-up for MVP, two time Defensive Player of the Year, two time All-NBA First team, NBA Champion and a Finals MVP. Until Zaza Pachulia decided to be a horrid human, Kawhi was the focal point of shutting down the Golden State Warriors. Yeah it was only for a half, but up until that point no one stopped the Warriors. Kawhi was the key, and who knows what he would’ve unlocked had he not been injured. He’s all of this and then some, but somehow we forgot. Now he’s here to remind everyone at the expense of the league.
Last season was a long and rocky break up for Kawhi and the Spurs. Last season in San Antonio Leonard feuded with team doctors all year about his health. That feud spilled into the locker room as veteran leaders Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker both made comments in the media about Leonard’s dedication to winning. After a short post season the writing was on the wall, Kawhi would most likely be moved. Coach Pop, ever the genius, put out feelers for teams in the East. Philly and Boston, two young teams with star talent now, emerged as potential places. However, many teams questioned “Was he worth it?”. Trading an All-Star or a cant miss prospect for an apparently injured superstar, with only a year on his deal left, seems like anything but a sure fire move.
Toronto made the call, and sent fan favorite Demar Derozan and Jakob Poeltl to San Antonio for Kawhi and longtime teammate Danny Green. Soon any team who questioned Kawhi’s value would learn how dumb they were. Kawhi isn’t just good, he’s MVP good. Like he has always been. He’s played 8 of 12 games only resting on back to backs, leading Toronto to a 11-1 record out of the gate. So far in this early season, he has a career high in points rebounds and assists. You know, probably the most three important stats in basketball.
How did the basketball community forget this mans greatness? Maybe it was his shy and quiet demeanor in San Antonio. The only time we had heard from Kawhi off the court was during last years nightmare. I don’t really have an answer, but what I do know is Kawhi Leonard is maybe the most complete player in basketball, and i’ll never forget it again.