Kawhi Leonard and the LA Clippers enter the 2020 NBA Playoffs as one of the favourites to win it all - alongside the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers.
With the road to the NBA Finals expected to go through a Los Angeles team, Leonard is not only competing against LeBron James for a shot at an NBA title, but for a slice of history that would put him in rare air.
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If Leonard can lead the Clippers to the 2020 NBA championship and add another Finals MVP trophy to his resume, he will become the first player in NBA history to win Finals MVP with three different teams - the same awaits James if he leads the Lakers to the title.
Either James or Leonard would be just the third player in NBA history to win championships with three different franchises, joining John Salley (Pistons, Bulls, Lakers) and Robert Horry (Rockets, Spurs, Lakers).
Leonard won his first Finals MVP award in 2014 at the tender age of 22, thanks largely to the defensive effort he put forth against James as the San Antonio Spurs cruised past the Miami Heat in six games.
He became the third-youngest Finals MVP in NBA history with series averages of 17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.9 steals per game.
His second act came last season as the focal point of the Toronto Raptors, where he averaged 28.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 2.0 steals per game, leading the Canadian franchise to their first-ever championship as they took care of the Golden State Warriors in six games.
The Los Angeles-native delivered one of the most dominant postseason runs on record. For a guy who's game isn't solely focused on scoring, he recorded the third-most points (732) in a single postseason. The only two players to have scored more - LeBron James in 2018 (748), and Michael Jordan in 1992 (759).
Leonard joined James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in NBA history to win Finals MVP with two different teams and became the 12th player in NBA history to win two or more Finals MVP awards for their career.
Leonard is also the first player in NBA history to win Finals MVP in both the Eastern and Western Conference.
Further to that, Leonard is just the fourth player to win Finals MVP in his first season with a team, joining Magic Johnson (1979-80), Moses Malone (1982-83, Philadelphia 76ers), and Kevin Durant (2016-17, Warriors).
When you zoom out, Leonard's achievements to date already have him alongside some of the game's legendary figures and 2020 presents an opportunity to cement his status as one of the NBA's best to ever do it.
After delivering Toronto their maiden title, the 29-year-old is out to bring that same joy to his current franchise, the LA Clippers - who have barely tasted playoff success, let alone a championship.
The Clippers have only made 14 appearances in the playoffs, only making it out of the first round on five occasions. If Leonard can lift the Larry O'Brien trophy once again this season, he would become the first player to lead two franchises to their first-ever NBA championship.
"If Kawhi wins a 3 championship w/ 3 franchises, & he's Finals MVP, he's in the GOAT conversation. Kawhi was the best player last year, he's trending to be the best player this year. How many years do have to be the best player before he's in that conversation?" - @GottliebShow pic.twitter.com/f2RslUdNDo- First Things First (@FTFonFS1) February 18, 2020
If the Clippers are the last team standing in Orlando, where will Kawhi rank all-time?
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