The East is without an undeniable superstar for the first time since LeBron was drafted in 2003. On the dawn of the trade between the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs a new contender for king has landed in the East. With all the talent of a top 5 player in the league, Kawhi Leonard should be a dead lock for that title but will he be?
In the last full season Kawhi played he was an efficient 20+ point per game scorer and the best perimeter defender in all of basketball. Even after last seasons injury and the communication debacles between he and the Spurs not many believe he won’t be able to return to full strength. With that said is that enough to be labeled the king of the East?
There’s a style that needs to come with the substance of being Royalty and the best player in a conference. When judged by talent and production Kawhi is second to none. When judged by style he may as well be Tim Duncan’s shadow. Players in the modern NBA aren’t just judged by their skill, their judged by their glamour and Kawhi has the same amount of glamour as a rice cake.
Success won’t dictate who the people will give their crown to. For years Tim Duncan stood as a pillar of greatness winning championships, an MVP, and making all star appearances all while Kobe garnered the attention of the West. Duncan never showed much personality and played the most fundamentally sound game in NBA history. Kobe in contrast was bold and lightning in a bottle on the court. Allowing him to be a king amongst the then star studded west.
Kawhi is an obvious superstar but royalty doesn’t run through his veins. The season has been riddled with Kawhi news but less than five direct quotes have been muttered by him. Royalty bathes in the spotlight like LeBron, Kobe, and MJ did. Even snatching the crown at some point from their predecessor.
Kawhi will probably thrive in Toronto. Toronto normally doesn’t receive a ton of media coverage until the
LeBronoffs, I mean The Playoffs, which will be perfect for Kawhi. This year may be different if he turns out to be a great fit and pushes them over the top of their organization’s wall. No doubt he’ll be one of the most talented players in the east but the crown won’t be so easy to win over talented players like Joel Embiid and Kyrie Irving whose games demand you look and social media accounts demand that you follow their reign.