Raptors' Kawhi Leonard Named 2019 NBA Finals MVP; Also Won Award in 2014

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJune 14, 2019

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 13: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors shoots the ball against the Golden State Warriors during Game Six of the 2019 NBA Finals on June 13, 2019 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard won the 2019 NBA Finals MVP Award on Thursday after leading his team to a 4-2 series victory over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors.

Leonard, who won the 2014 NBA Finals MVP with the San Antonio Spurs, averaged 28.5 points, 9.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.8 steals during the championship round.

No one questioned the obvious MVP choice aside from analyst Hubie Brown:

Tommy Beer of Rotoworld and Shane Young of Forbes praised the 27-year-old superstar's efforts and resume:

Ben Golliver of the Washington Post noted the elite company Leonard found himself in with his second Finals MVP Award:

He was sensational throughout the playoffs, leading his team in points, rebounds, steals and player efficiency rating. The eight-year veteran was also second in assists behind point guard Kyle Lowry.

Furthermore, he delivered one of the greatest highlights in NBA history when his buzzer-beating shot against the Philadelphia 76ers vaulted the Raps into the Eastern Conference Finals:

Leonard starred against Golden State, most notably during a critical Game 4 road win when he posted 36 points on 11-of-22 shooting, 12 rebounds and four steals in a 105-92 victory. That result gave Toronto a 3-1 series lead and its second straight win at Oracle Arena.

In general, he proved to be nearly unstoppable on the offensive end, especially when he bullied his way into the lane:

Leonard was a little quieter in Game 6 with 22 points and six boards, but he still showcased his excellent two-way game:

He also finished with the third-most points in a single postseason behind two rather legendary names, per NBA.com:

The Raptors won their first title in the franchise's 24-year history thanks largely to Leonard, whom Toronto acquired in a seismic trade that sent leading scorer DeMar DeRozan to San Antonio, among other moving parts.

But to his credit, Leonard jelled well with his new teammates and remained humble after many wondered whether he really wanted to be there. Now, he's a two-time NBA champion and two-time NBA Finals MVP with a chance to build a resume comparable to the game's greatest players of all time.

Related

    AD Trade Was Lakers' Only Chance at a Star

    According to multiple sources, LA's chances at landing a star in free agency were 'dwindling'

    NBA logo
    NBA

    AD Trade Was Lakers' Only Chance at a Star

    According to multiple sources, LA's chances at landing a star in free agency were 'dwindling'

    Ken Berger
    via Bleacher Report

    Report: Kyrie Has Wanted to Play with AD 'for Months' 👀

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Report: Kyrie Has Wanted to Play with AD 'for Months' 👀

    Tyler Conway
    via Bleacher Report

    Lakers Reportedly Trade for AD 🚨

    • Pels get: Lonzo, BI, Hart, three 1sts • Lakers get: Anthony Davis • Who won the trade?

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Lakers Reportedly Trade for AD 🚨

    • Pels get: Lonzo, BI, Hart, three 1sts • Lakers get: Anthony Davis • Who won the trade?

    Adam Wells
    via Bleacher Report

    Best, Worst Landing Spots for Top FAs Post-AD Trade

    NBA logo
    NBA

    Best, Worst Landing Spots for Top FAs Post-AD Trade

    Andy Bailey
    via Bleacher Report