Kawhi Leonard ‘wasn’t sure’ how far Raptors could go this year, but says NBA Finals has always been their goal
When Kawhi Leonard got traded to the Toronto Raptors with shooting guard Danny Green, he wasn’t entirely sure how good the team was going to be.
The Raptors were the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference in 2017-18, so Leonard knew he was joining a good team with a lot of potential. Now four games away from an NBA Finals trip, Leonard says the team’s goal of getting to the Finals is almost complete.
How far did Kawhi think the Raptors could go when he first got to Toronto? "I wasn't sure… They were a good team last year, so with the addition of me and Danny… the sky was the limit. I know that we all had a goal to get to the Finals."
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) May 14, 2019
The Raptors have never made it to the NBA Finals before. That’s why Masai Ujiri took the risk of trading for Leonard because he knew Kawhi was the type of player who could take the franchise to the next level.
After Kawhi played in only nine games last season with the San Antonio Spurs due to a lingering quadriceps injury, everyone wanted to know what version of Leonard we were going to see this season with the Raptors. The two-time Defensive Player of the Year showed everyone he’s still one of the best players in the NBA. Leonard averaged 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists during the regular season while shooting 49.6 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc.
As all superstars do, Leonard has taken his game to the next level in the playoffs. The Raptors’ best player is putting up 31.8 points in the postseason and hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer in Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers this past Sunday.