How Many Rings Does Kawhi Have? His Amazing Journey With 2 Different Teams

Kawhi Lenoard rings with the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors.

Some sports fans may ask themselves, does Kawhi Leonard have a ring? If so, “How many rings does Kawhi have?” being unfamiliar with the story of one of the most unheralded stars in the NBA. Kawhi Leonard has 2 championships rings during his career and was a vital part of these 2 championship runs . The 2013-2014 San Antonio Spurs and the 2018-2019 Toronto Raptors.

His contributions to the Spurs helped to extend a historically successful NBA franchise’s run of success. While his contributions to the Raptors helped to secure the franchise’s only NBA championship. Kawhi Leonard’s championship rings and impressive NBA Finals performances define his outstanding career that is undoubtedly headed to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Humble Beginnings – 2011 NBA Draft and Rookie Season

Kawhi Leonard had a successful 2-year collegiate career at San Diego State. His time at San Diego State resulted in a 2nd Team Consensus All-America selection his sophomore season. However, he was greatly overshadowed by many of his peers in the 2011 NBA draft class. Such as Kyrie Irving, Derrick Williams, Brandon Knight, Klay Thompson and Kemba Walker.

Leonard was selected with the 15th pick overall by the Indiana Pacers. But he was subsequently traded to the San Antonio Spurs on draft night. Leonard had a successful rookie season considering his modest draft status.

Kahwi was also named to the All-Rookie 1st Team as a result. However, his averages of 7.9 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 1.3 SPG convinced many that he was destined for a career as a role player or solid starter. But not an All-Star caliber player. So, who did Kawhi Leonard win a championship with? And When did Kawhi win his first ring?

Championship Ring #1 – 2013-2014 San Antonio Spurs

The story of Kawai Leonard’s Spurs ring started during the 2012-2013 season. The Spurs made an impressive run to the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. Many experts had thought that the successful Spurs run, which had resulted in 4 NBA championships from 1999 to 2007, was over.

The Oklahoma City Thunder with young stars Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Harden had eliminated the Spurs in the 2012 NBA playoffs and were expected to be the next great power in the Western Conference. However, Kawhi Leonard seamlessly established himself as a very good starting small forward for the Spurs during the 2012-2013 season. Although his scoring average of 11.9 PPG was still pretty modest, his efficiency and great defense began to gain him recognition across the league.

Leonard finally gained widespread acclaim for his performance during the 2013 NBA Finals. He averaged 14.6 PPG and 11.1 RPG, all while playing outstanding individual defense on both Dwayne Wade and Lebron James. Although the Spurs would lose in 7 games, it was clear that Leonard had extended their championship window, which had previously appeared to be closing.

The following season, Leonard would showcase the impressive shooting efficiency. This would begin to define his career, shooting an incredible 52.2% from the field, 37.9% from 3-point range, and 80.2% from the free-throw line. His defensive prowess was officially recognized around the NBA, resulting in him being named to the All-Defensive 2nd Team.

After posting the league’s best record at 62-20, the Spurs entered the 2014 postseason determined to avenge their disappointing finals loss to the Heat the previous season. Although Leonard had breathed more life into the Spurs dynasty, rising powers in the Western Conference such as the Oklahoma City Thunder, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Clippers made it clear that San Antonio needed to win a title asap. After facing tough challenges in the playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder, the Spurs once again faced off again in the NBA finals against the Miami Heat.

Leonard would lead the Spurs to a dominant series win over the favored Heat in 5 games. Kawhi was named Finals MVP, averaging 17.8 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and shooting an incredible 61.2% from the field.

Estrangement in San Antonio and Trade to Toronto

Leonard soon evolved into an NBA star, winning back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 seasons. As the old Spurs core began to retire, he also become more of an offensive player averaging 25.5 PPG during the 2016-2017 season.

Unfortunately, the relationship between Leonard and the Spurs soon deteriorated, stemming from disagreements between him and Spurs coach Greg Popovich. Also, during the 2017-2018 NBA season, Leonard missed the first 27 games of the season with a right quadriceps injury. After returning and playing for nine games, Leonard was ruled out indefinitely with the same injury.

Although the Spurs medical staff eventually cleared him to play. Leonard chose to sit out the remainder of the season, relying on a 2nd opinion from his own personal doctors. Eventually, with his relationship with the Spurs permanently damaged, Leonard was traded from the Spurs to the Toronto Raptors during the summer of 2018.

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Kawhi Leonard Championship 2019: Ring #2 – Toronto Raptors

Before the addition of Leonard, the Raptors had developed into a successful NBA franchise that had made the postseason the previous 5 seasons. However, despite their regular-season success, they repeatedly proved unable to get past the best teams in the Eastern Conference.

The addition of Leonard gave the Raptors the star they needed to compete for an NBA title. The Raptors surrounded Leonard with a very good nucleus of players. A core including Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, Jonas Valanciunas, Fred VanVleet, Danny Green, Marc Gasol and Pascal Siakam. They would finish with the 2nd best record in the NBA during the 2018-2019 NBA season at 58-24.

Despite the successful regular season, the Raptors would face many tests in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Their 2nd round playoff series against the Philadelphia 76ers would arguably end up being their biggest challenge of the entire postseason, going 7 games.

Leonard would end up making arguably the biggest shot of his career during game 7 of the series, hitting a buzzer-beater to give the Raptors a 92-90 victory over the 76ers. During their next matchup against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Raptors lost the first 2 games of the series. However, Leonard would lead the Raptors to 4 consecutive wins against the Bucks to win the series in 6 games and advance to the NBA Finals, averaging 29.8 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 4.3 APG, and 2.2 SPG in the series.

How many finals MVP does Kawhi have?

As with the 2014 NBA finals, Leonard faced a heavily favored opponent in the 2019 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. However, the Warriors were missing Kevin Durant, who was dealing with a calf injury and would only appear in game 6 of the series before rupturing his Achilles tendon in the 2nd quarter.

Without Durant, the Raptors proved to be the deeper team. Under Leonard’s leadership, the Raptors would win the series 4-2. Leonard once again was named Finals MVP after averaging 28.5 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 4.2 APG, 2 SPG, and 1.2 BPG. Kawhi Leonard’s Raptors ring and 2nd Finals MVP award established him as one of the biggest stars in the NBA.

So, how many rings does Kawhi have? You now know the answer.