“Only Beat the Warriors Because of Injury”: Raptors Star’s “Delusional” Kawhi Leonard Admission Leaves NBA Fans Scratching Their Heads

Published 12/02/2022, 12:00 AM EST

The Toronto Raptors won their only NBA championship in 2019 and a huge credit for that goes to Kawhi Leonard. After disgruntled relations with the San Antonio Spurs front office, Leonard may have had the best revenge story in NBA history. However, his fellow Toronto teammate’s bold claim has fans literally scratching their heads. 

The Toronto Raptors were led by Kawhi Leonard that year. Other players who stepped up to the occasion were Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry. But another player who displayed hints of star potential was Fred VanVleet. 

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The team relied more on their veterans like Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol in order to help Kawhi Leonard on offense. Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet were two young guns(24 years old-each), who exhibited leadership qualities.

Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Toronto Raptors looks on during warm up prior to the Toronto Raptors vs Portland Trail Blazers NBA regular season game at Scotiabank Arena on March 1, 2019, in Toronto, Canada (Toronto Raptors win 119-117) (Photo by Anatoliy Cherkasov/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

VanVleet makes interesting claim about Kawhi Leonard

But recently, the point guard made an interesting claim regarding that 2018-19 Raptors squad. According to Fred VanVleet, if Kawhi Leonard had decided to stay with the Raptors, they would’ve gone on to win two more NBA championships, that too consecutively.

And fans just could not believe what was being claimed by the Raptors player. One fan tweeted, “Calm down. Only beat the warriors cause of injuries. (Laptors fans know this) Would have got knocked out 2nd round.” 

Here are some more reactions from NBA Twitter:

 

While it is good to be optimistic, fans just could not let this fly as they immediately snapped back at VanVleet’s comments.

Fred VanVleet may have to redact his statement

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If you look at it from a numbers standpoint, there were only three players on the Toronto Raptors squad who managed to average double-digit points in that year’s playoffs. Kawhi Leonard led the team with an average of 30.5 PPG. 

He had some help from Pascal Siakam who averaged 19.0 PPG, followed by Lowry’s 15.0 PPG. VanVleet on the other hand only averaged 8.0 PPG. 

Watch This Story – The uncanny resemblance between Michael Jordan and Kawhi Leonard’s plays

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The Golden State Warriors on the other hand had four players averaging double-digit points. And three of them were averaging above 20 points per game. So, if it weren’t for injuries to Klay Thompson and Kevin Durant, the Raptors’ chances to win that series seem arguably less likely had those injuries not occurred.

What do you think of Fred VanVleet’s comments? Do you think the Raptors could have won that Finals series even if the Warriors were not hit by injuries? Let us know in the comments below.

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Abhishek Dhariwal

523 articles

Abhishek Dhariwal is an NBA writer for EssentiallySports. He earned his bachelor's degree in English Honors from St. Xavier's College and his master's degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from AAFT School of Mass Communication and Journalism.

Edited By: Veer Badani

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