One of the best unscripted but not unexpected stories of the 2018/19 NBA Season. Klaw is known as Kawhi Leonard. With almost from the inception of Toronto Raptors till the 2018 – 19 season spanning almost about 24 years, 1900 + regular season games and almost a century of playoff games Raptors have never reached the Finals of NBA.
It has been a long wait for the Raptors fans to taste the phase of the NBA finals. It all started way back in the offseason of 2018 – 19 season where the long-time loyal player of the Raptors DeMar DeRozan was traded to San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard which created a huge buzz around the NBA as Leonard’s past history with Spurs was one in the talks. Citing injuries to his calf’s and the overall lower body, he almost did not play for the Spurs for a year and a half where he was then criticized by fans and the media for deliberately forcing a move out of the club LA Lakers, but this was not the case and hence was traded to the Raptors.
Players like Chris Bosh, Vince Carter, Damon Stoudamire, and DeRozan played their hearts out to make this dream a possibility but it was cut short by a lot of super teams and Lebron James during his time with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Signing Leonard was a considerable risk for the Raptors but when he signed with the Raptors, it also gave them what they wanted i.e. an Eastern Conference free from LeBron James who defeated Raptors almost every year joined Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference.
It all started off with Raptors clinching the 2nd Best Regular season record in the Eastern Conference below the Bucks. Not a lot of Pundits and the Media Personnel expected the Raptors to go past the 2nd round where they met the Philadelphia 76ers where the Raptors clinched it in a thrilling 7 game series. It was Kawhi heroics where he averaged almost 34 PPG in the series and put in a Game 7 buzzer-beater to seal off the series. Continuing this trend, going down 2- 0 against the Milwaukee Bucks, most of the Pundits wrote off the Raptors of a comeback, it was Kawhi and the supporting cast who rose up to the occasion and went on to win the series by 4 -2 and eliminated the Giannis and the Bucks and clinched the Eastern Conference Championship for the 1st time.
Leonard’s Pre and Post Season run has been nothing short of Magic and is surely the Postseason MVP where he has scored 30 points or more in 13 of the Post Season Games. There is one last hurdle to cross and they are leading halfway by 2 -1 with 4 games left in the Series. With Klay Thompson doubtful for Game 4 and Kevin Durant almost out of the Finals, this could be Leonard’s time to cement his place at Toronto as the Greatest Raptor ever just in his 1st here at Toronto.