2014 NBA Finals: 5 Reasons Why San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard Is The MVP So Far

5 Reasons Why San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard Is The MVP So Far

KawhI Leonard
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Last year's NBA Finals was a tough lesson, not only for the San Antonio Spurs, but for Kawhi Leonard. Just like the rest of his team, he's bounced back and the results of the 2014 NBA Finals speak for themselves. As the Miami Heat grow more weary with each game, Leonard seems to get better. Check out the fove reasons he has been the Finals MVP so far.

5. He Has Earned Gregg Popovich's Respect

Gregg Popovich
Bob Donnan-USA

5. He Has Earned Gregg Popovich's Respect

Gregg Popovich
Bob Donnan-USA

Obviously Gregg Popovich and the Spurs' organization respected Kawhi Leonard enough to trade for him on draft day in 2011. But Leonard's aggressive demeanor has earned a new found respect by "Pop." This is most evident in the postgame interviews, where more than one word is used by Popovich to praise Leonard. Now that's respect.

4. 50/50 Plays

Kawhi Leonard
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

4. 50/50 Plays

Kawhi Leonard
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

The hustle plays have been a major factor in this series as far as momentum goes. Any time the ball is on the ground, it seems like Kawhi Leonard is the first on top of it. If a rebound is up for grabs, you better believe he's coming down with it. Once he get his infamously large hands on the ball, there is not getting it back.

3. He Has Frustrated LeBron James

Kawhi Leonard
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

3. He Has Frustrated LeBron James

Kawhi Leonard
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Heat's LeBron James may have met his match in the defense of Kawhi Leonard. Game 3 of the series saw the "King" turn the ball over seven times. In Game 4, James and the Heat saw the effects of Leonard's defense as they gasped for air throughout the entire game. James is obviously uncomfortable when guarded by Leonard, and the current situation they face is a direct result.

2. Offensive Spark

Kawhi Leonard
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

2. Offensive Spark

Kawhi Leonard
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

In the first two games, Leonard struggled with foul trouble and his offense suffered from it. But Leonard exploded for a career-high 29 points in Game 3, then followed that up with a team-high 20 points in Game 4. He is second on the team in scoring, second in steals, and third in rebounds for the Finals. His offense has been a spark for the Spurs' success.

1. Will To Win

Kawhi Leonard
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

1. Will To Win

Kawhi Leonard
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Heart is something that can't be measured in the box score, but you can tell when someone has it. Leonard has played with the type of passion, relentlessness, and fearlessness that is contagious. It has infected his teammates and affected the Miami Heat. No one has been able to match his fire (quiet as it may be) and a ring seems like the only thing possible to extinguish it.

Around the Web