Don't Forget that Kawhi Leonard is the Finals MVP

Kawhi had one of the most historic playoff runs in NBA history, and fans have already forgotten it.
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People seem to have forgotten just how good Kawhi Leonard really is. While there may be a sort of recency bias, fans shouldn't forget that he's the reigning Finals MVP. Not just that, but a Finals MVP with one of the most historic playoff runs in NBA history.

Most 30-Point Games in a Postseason

Kawhi Leonard had a record amount of 30-point games in the 2019 playoffs. In fact, he had 14 of them, the fourth-most in NBA history. The only players who had more 30-point games in a playoff run were: Hakeem Olajuwon (16), Michael Jordan (16), and Kobe Bryant (15). All three of those players did that during championship runs as well.

Most 30-Point Games on the Road in a Postseason

Those 30-point games weren't just at home either. Leonard had more of those tremendous scoring performances on the road, than at home. Eight of those games were on the road, and six of them were at home. This ranks for the second-most thirty point games on the road during a postseason, in NBA history. Again, the only person who ranked higher was Kobe Bryant in 2009 (9 games).

Don't forget these were efficient shooting performances as well - 30.5 PPG on 49/38/88 shooting splits.

Most Points Scored in a Postseason

Leonard scored the 3rd most points (732) in NBA postseason history throughout his 2019 playoff run. The only two players that scored more were LeBron James in 2018 (748), and Michael Jordan in 1992 (759). 

Most Points in a Single Playoff Series

It's fair to say that Kawhi Leonard carried the Raptors during the Conference Semifinals against the Sixers. He made the historic Game 7 buzzer-beater, and he also scored a historic amount of points. 243 points, to be exact. 

Kawhi scored the 3rd most points in a playoff series, ever. The only two players to ever score more in a series were Michael Jordan (246), and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (260).

Kawhi shutdown Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks were up 2-0 against the Toronto Raptors in the Conference Finals. It seemed like the series was over. From out of nowhere, Toronto proceeds to beat Milwaukee four games straight. It was a tremendous team effort, but a lot of that credit needs to given to Kawhi Leonard's defense.

Kawhi Leonard held Giannis Antetokounmpo to 10/30 (33%) over the final four games of the Eastern Conference Finals. That was over the course of 141 possessions. In those 141 possessions, Giannis only scored 25 points (via Justin Russo). That is the literal definition of being shutdown. This was done while still maintaining one of the best scoring postseasons in NBA history.

Final Thoughts

It's easy to forget in the NBA. With the advent of Social Media, news outlets bombard fans with a never-ending amount of information. So much comes in at once, fans forget about history almost immediately. 

With that being said, fans shouldn't forget Kawhi Leonard's 2019 playoff run. The playoffs are what matters, not the regular season. Putting up historic stats, while being the best defender, while winning the championship, matters. Winning matters.