Raptors GM Masai Ujiri calls Kawhi Leonard the ‘best player’ in the NBA after leading Toronto to Finals
After several failed attempts over the past couple of years, the Toronto Raptors have finally advanced to the NBA Finals thanks in large part to Kawhi Leonard’s historic playoff performance.
The All-Star forward was at his best in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, during which he scored 27 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and dished out seven assists to lead Toronto to a 100-94 series-clinching win against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Raptors team president Masai Ujiri congratulated the team after the game and gave Leonard a well-deserved recognition.
“He’s the best player in the league and we’re happy he’s in Toronto,” Ujiri said, per Josh Lewenberg of The Sports Network.
Leonard was traded to the Raptors last year, and he immediately made his presence felt by leading the team to the second-best record in the East.
Toronto faced the Orlando Magic in the first round of the playoffs and lost the series opener, raising questions about Toronto’s playoff mentality. Kawhi quickly erased those doubts by dominating the rest of the series. He continued his strong play against the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals, which he capped by hitting a series-clinching buzzer-beater in Game 7.
Then there were the Bucks, the team with the best record in the league, who beat the Raptors in the first two games of the conference finals. Everybody thought they were done for, but once again, Leonard played the part of the hero and shut down MVP front-runner Giannis Antetokounmpo over the next four games to give the Canada-based franchise the series win.
Now there’s only one team that stands in the way between Kawhi’s Raptors and the championship: the Golden State Warriors.
Leonard will cement his legacy as one of the best players in the league if he succeeds in taking down one of the greatest dynasties in the history of basketball.