Kawhi, The Unlikely NBA MVP
This year’s MVP race is coming down to the wire as NBA fans are watching history most nights with triple doubles, chase down blocks, crucial steals, and clutch shots. Fans are unsure about how the media is going decide on an MVP this year with the likes of Russell Westbrook, James Harden and LeBron James putting up unbelievable performances. Although I, along with many other fans can agree that they’re all great candidates for the award this year, we can’t help but pay attention to Kawhi Leonard this year. The man who won Finals MVP, started in two all-star games and won back to back Defensive Player of The Year awards by the age of 25. He’s doing this before he’s even reaching the peak of his prime, and now he’s giving everyone a case to be this year’s MVP. Leonard and the Spurs are closing in on 60 wins this season, and the fact that most NBA MVP’s came from a team in the first or second seed in their conferences, helps Kawhi’s case even more. If Kawhi were to win MVP, he will have averaged the third fewest minutes per game (MPG) by an NBA MVP. Kawhi Leonard, is also averaging the least turnovers by far, than the rest of the MVP contenders this season. He is averaging 2.1 turnovers, while LeBron averages 4.2, Westbrook averages 5.5, and Harden averages 5.8 this season. The only NBA MVP to average a turnover rate that was Dirk Nowitzki, when he got MVP back in the 2006–07 season. Kawhi would also be in the all time steals Top 10 list for MVP’s. His defense goes a long way as well. Opposing head coaches in some cases, do not put the ball in the hands of their best player, when it comes down to the final minutes or even seconds of a game, because Kawhi is taking defense on them. They want to keep Kawhi away from the ball in that situation, because they are afraid of him. Kawhi has a serious case to win the MVP this season. He shines on the biggest stages in the NBA, he is elite on both ends of the floor, and his team is winning games. He hardly turns over the ball, he makes his teammates better, and if Kawhi Leonard didn’t exist on the Spurs, the chances of San Antonio making the playoffs or being a contender would be significantly lower than what it is now. He is incredibly valuable. He is the most valuable player in the league today. To really put himself as the front runner for the MVP, he will need to put on some great performances over the remainder of the season. 11 of the Spurs’ last 20 games are against playoff contenders, arguably one of the toughest schedules in the league right now. They will face the Warriors twice, Memphis 3 times, Utah twice, OKC 2 more times, and have some final showdowns with the Clippers and Cavaliers too. Let’s see what happens from now till then.