Before the playoffs started, many NBA fans probably never even heard the name “Kawhi Leonard.” Most Miami Heat fans did not even know he existed until he crushed their hopes and dreams in the NBA Finals – which led to him being named the NBA Finals MVP at the age of 22. Why did Kawhi Leonard win the MVP? The simple answer is that he was hungry, not starstruck. He did not allow the fact that he would be playing against such dominating NBA legends as LeBron James and Dwyane Wade affect his drive and his hunger. He just focused on playing his very best during each of those games as if he was playing with the neighborhood kids back home. You could tell that he was not mentally or emotionally affected by the intensity of the event. If anything Kawhi Leonard knew that he had to rise to the occasion.
The Missing Puzzle Piece
The big three combination of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker were just as solid as they were last year – but you could tell that they had all aged quite a bit since the 2013 NBA Finals against LeBron James and the Miami Heat. Kawhi Leonard had to fit into the equation like a missing puzzle piece – pushing the Spurs the extra inch of the way that they needed to excel as a dominating team against the Heat. And he did exactly that! As icing on the cake, he was able to walk away with the NBA Finals MVP award on Father’s Day close to six years after losing his own father in death. Kawhi Leonard – definitely a rising star that you should remember and keep your eyes on next season!