NBA

Best player in the NBA? Leonard focused on Raptors' success

By Sports Desk May 26, 2019

Kawhi Leonard is unfazed about whether he is the best player in the NBA as he focuses on trying to lead the Toronto Raptors to a championship.

Leonard inspired the Raptors to a first NBA Finals appearance after they sealed a 4-2 series win over the Milwaukee Bucks with a 100-94 victory on Saturday.

The former San Antonio Spurs star contributed 27 points, 17 rebounds and seven assists in Game 6 as the Raptors moved into the decider against the Golden State Warriors.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri labelled Leonard "the best player in the league" after the win, but the 27-year-old's focus is on his team.

"I don't really judge my game like that. I'm more of a team aspect, see what my team is doing. I just want to win," Leonard told a news conference.

"I don't care about being the best player. I want to be the best team. I've always said that.

"Just before the season when we made the trade, Masai felt that way about me. He told me how he felt and why he made the trade. It's turning out well now.

"We're in the Finals - and we're not done yet."

Leonard was traded to the Raptors from the Spurs in July last year, having played just nine games during an injury-plagued final season in San Antonio.

The 2014 NBA Finals MVP was thrilled by Toronto's run, while praising team-mate Kyle Lowry.

"It's great. I worked so hard to get to this point with the season I had last year, just always betting on myself and knowing what I feel and what's right for me," Leonard said.

"I ended up coming here with a great group of guys, a lot of talent. And I just strived with them every day. I just kind of bought into their system.

"Kyle helped me a lot with my transition, on the court and off the court, asking him questions, him just pushing me on the floor as well and letting me know what to do in situations when he calls plays.

"All that hard work just put together, now we're here and it's exciting."

Game 1 of the NBA Finals is in Toronto on Thursday.

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