Kawhi Leonard has had a turn in the spotlight over the last month of the season, including his outstanding seven-steal game against the Golden State Warriors on April 5th. That was a great performance against a fantastic team and it was quite impressive to watch Whi take the ball from Stephen Curry three times and lock-down the MVP candidate when Gregg Popovich gave him The Curry Assignment. That may have been the game that vaulted Kawhi into "star" status for most of the public, though Spurs fans have been watching Leonard steadily improve since he arrived in San Antonio. Still, I'm not sure anyone expected Kawhi to be as good as he's been since late February.
Following a loss to the Trail Blazers on February 25th, the Spurs' fourth loss in a row, Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs went on a tear and won 21 of their last 25 games. Over that span it became obvious that Kawhi had not only made great progress over the season, but that he had also become the team's best and most important player. He's a lock to make the NBA All-Defensive first team for the first time in his career, not because he led the league in steals per game, but because he's the best perimeter defender in a league that's becoming more and more perimeter oriented. The fact that he can guard the league's best players, and take over a game on the offensive end, makes his value hard to quantify. I mean, what is the value of making the other team's best player work harder than he has to work against any other player in the league? It's clear that he's now one of the most impactful players in the game, a defense-first star who's paired that elite skill with all-star level offense, and is poised to lead his team back to the Finals and pick up his second Bill Russell award.
So here you go, Pounders and Spurs fans, some of Kawhi's highlights over the past seven weeks set to James Brown's funk classic, Super Bad.
For another mix of a Spur and Mr. Dynamite, check out Patty's Got A Brand New Bag.