Look Out! Spurs' Kawhi Leonard Is Crashing The James Harden Russell Westbrook MVP Party

This is source I found from another site, main source you can find in last paragraph

There has been a presumption among the NBA’s observer class that has the two nightly triple-double threats—Russell Westbrook and James Harden—locked into the top slots for MVP balloting. Certainly, Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard has taken notice.

“Those guys are playing amazing basketball out there,” Leonard said. “They’re carrying their teams every night. I mean, it’s just fun to watch them.”

Sure, it’s fun. Westbrook and Harden are racking up triple-doubles as easily as tying their shoes. But when it comes to the MVP, Leonard should be ranked right alongside those two. He matched Harden point-for-point Monday—they each scored 39—but Leonard got his points on just 18 field-goal attempts, with six rebounds, five assists and only one turnover. His offensive points-per-100-possessions rating was 168.

Leonard has improved every year he has been in the league, six altogether. With the retirement of Tim Duncan and the diminishing of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, he has had to take on a bigger role in the Spurs’ offense, and he has thrived: 26.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, while shooting 48.8 percent from the field. He has accepted the team’s need for him to be more aggressive, and is getting to the free-throw line 7.6 times per game, more than double (3.6) his career average.  He is one of the best midrange shooters in the league, making 47.7 percent of his midrange jumpers (fifth in the NBA) according to NBA.com stats.

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There is, of course, the defense. That is where Leonard made his name early in his career, with his long arms, catcher’s-mitt hands, A-plus instincts and determination. He has won Defensive Player of the Year two years running, and will battle Draymond Green of the Warriors for the award again this year.

As one scout said: “I don’t know if I have ever seen a guy who can be the first option on the offensive end, then go down and guard on the defensive end, take the other team’s best player and not take a possession off, and still score 25, 26 points per game. LeBron (James) does that, Michael Jordan could do that, and they are great defenders when locked in. But guys like that are gamblers on a lot of possessions and save the best defense for the big moments. Leonard, he just does it every time down. Sometimes he plays like a guy on a 10-day contract.”

If we’re truly sizing up who is the Most Valuable Player in the league, Leonard’s defense should be considered. If he is not the best individual wing defender in the league, he is surely among the top two or three. Coach Gregg Popovich, no longer able to focus his defensive scheme on interior shot-blockers, has modified the Spurs’ defense. Leonard is now the cornerstone.   

And Leonard appears to be ramping up for the stretch run. The Spurs have won eight in a row and are now 2.5 games behind the Warriors for the top seed in the West. They have won 10 of their last 11, with Leonard averaging 30.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists during that stretch. If he keeps on that pace, and if the Spurs overtake the Warriors for the conference’s top seed, Leonard would have to be the MVP, even with all the Westbrook-Harden heroics.

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Since Leonard is a Spur, it’s mandatory you be reminded of the fact that he is not a showy fellow, that he has virtually no national endorsements and that he is more committed to fundamentals than to self-promotion. For those of us who wield recorders for a living, interviewing Leonard can be a bit of an uphill climb. Don’t expect San Antonio to put on a Leonard-for-MVP campaign of any sort.

Leonard doesn't care. Asked about how MVPs should be picked, he pointed to Harden and Westbrook.

“I don’t get too concerned about it,” he said. “I don’t read the articles or watch what’s going on. I’m just focusing on the Spurs and myself and seeing what I can do to help position us for a playoff run.”

The run to the playoffs has already begun, and Leonard is only getting better. He is the best two-way player in the league. As much fun as it is to watch Harden and Westbrook, no one in the NBA is contributing more to a winning outfit quite like Leonard. If he and the Spurs keep playing the way they have over the last few weeks, Leonard ought to be rewarded.

This is source I found from another site, main source you can find in last paragraph

Source : http://www.sportingnews.com/nba/news/kawhi-leonard-stats-drug-test-hands-mvp-harden-westbrook/13pje1jck8gdz1g00b9cu4ch9x

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