The regular season and postseason has been overshadowed by the “Summer of 2019.”
The chase for Kevin Durant and other top players has definitely distracted the New York audience, but there is another monster free agent who has shown throughout the playoffs he is every bit as good as KD.
This postseason has been a simple reminder of the greatness of Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard has put together a postseason run for the ages, leading the Toronto Raptors to the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history.
Leonard’s postseason has been the definition of excellence, efficiency and clutch combined in one package.
Leonard put the Raptors on his back in the second round against the Philadelphia 76ers, and hit a series-ending buzzer-beater in Game 7 at the end of regulation.
In the Eastern Conference Finals Leonard was hands down the best player on the court, and that’s saying something.
He matched up and easily won the battle against soon to be league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo.
It’s possible some NBA fans may have forgotten when he missed an entire year, but there’s no getting around this simple fact: Kawhi Leonard is one of the three best players in the NBA.
Locally, we spend a lot of time discussing the Knicks’ pursuit of Kevin Durant. Rightfully so, but I would be just as happy with Kawhi Leonard.
However, it’s unlikely you will see Leonard in a Knick uniform. It seems Durant wants New York and it’s doubtful that Leonard, who is a California kid and part of a team going to the finals, would even entertain the idea of playing for the Knicks.
That storyline will be addressed soon enough.
In the here and now, the NBA Finals presents the ultimate opportunity for Leonard, who already won a Finals MVP with the San Antonio Spurs, to showcase his talents.
The Toronto Raptors are heavy underdogs against the Golden State Warriors. Can he go out and slay Goliath?
The Warriors are shooting for their fourth title in five seasons, and have thrived in the absence of Kevin Durant.
Leonard will need to be the best player in the series and a ton of help from
his teammates if the Raptors even want to entertain the idea of dethroning the champs.
It will be a tall order for the NBA’s silent assassin.
I expect Leonard to be great, and I will root for him to do the unthinkable.
However, I just can’t justify picking against the Warriors, with or without Durant.
Warriors in six.
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