Where Does Kawhi Rank Amongst Toronto's All-Time Greats?

As we all know, in 2019 the Toronto Raptors had a historic playoff run. Kawhi Leonard hit one of the craziest shots in NBA Playoff history and beat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for the first time since 2016. 

To me, Leonard is the greatest Raptor ever because he accomplished, what no other player in Raptors history ever did. However, it is looking like Toronto will finish as the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference, lead by All-Star Duo, Kyle Lowry, and Pascal Siakam. The Milwaukee Bucks are the favorites in the East to make it to the Finals, but it's not crazy to think that Toronto makes over Milwaukee. Since we are in the bubble though, anything can happen. We have seen many players be suspended due to breaking protocol in the bubble, so anything is a possibility under the strict guidelines. 

If Toronto does manage to win, it would appear that Kawhi was just a superstar with a championship-caliber roster, with just a few tweaks from the 2018-2019 season to this season. If that is the case, where would he rank?

Before we begin to think about where Kawhi ranks, we must compare the competition he has. Unlike a lot of other NBA franchises, the Raptors only have four valid competitors for the spot. 

First, we have 8x All-Star, Vince Carter. VC played seven seasons with Toronto. With the Raptors, VC made the playoffs three times but never managed to make it past the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. He turned the entire franchise around, putting Toronto on the map after being their first real "star."

Second, we have Chris Bosh. Bosh made 11 All-Star games and ranks second among all Raptors players in win shares with 60.1. Like Carter, Bosh only made it to the playoffs three times, and never made it past the first round. Similar to Carter, Bosh never really accomplished much with Toronto which is why I can't consider him to beat Kawhi.

Third, we have DeMar DeRozan. DeRozan made four all-star games with Toronto and made the playoffs with them five times. Unfortunately for DeMar, in 2018 he was traded to the Spurs for Kawhi Leonard. DeMar though is a FA this offseason and could potentially team back up with Kyle Lowry. That dynamic duo, along with one of the brightest futures in the NBA would be a three-headed dragon no team would want to go up against. Another good look for the Raptors would also be that DeRozan says he was happy for the city of Toronto once they won their first chip, and saying I would like to win one too.

And finally, to me, Kawhi's biggest competition we have Kyle Lowry who also won a ring last season. He's been with the Raptors for eight seasons and made six All-Star Games with them too. Lowry has always been a consistent scorer, and playmaker for Toronto, and was a huge factor in their 2019 NBA Finals win. 

I know a lot has to happen for Kawhi's #1 legacy to be challenged by Lowry, (by me at least) but with that being said, what does Kawhi's legacy look like if Toronto pulls it off. As of now, he's the guy who lead a team notoriously known for choking in the playoffs, to beating a top-five dynasty of all-time. 

Leave a comment down below if you agree with me about Kawhi's unmatched legacy in Toronto, or if you think its someone else.

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