Although Cleveland's Kyrie Irving won the 2011-12 NBA Rookie of the Year award, San Antonio Spurs' rookie finished fourth in the voting. Leonard garnered 47 points (one first place vote) which placed him behind Irving, Ricky Rubio, and Kenneth Faried.
Kawhi was traded for in the 2011 NBA Draft to the Pacers in exchange for fan favorite George Hill. Initially, the trade left Spurs fans scratching their heads but the trade worked out great for San Antonio. Leonard proved to be the defensive player we was known for while in San Diego State and at times even defended some of the best players on opposing teams such as Kevin Durant. But he has developed an offensive game in his rookie season with the Spurs including a reliable three-point shot.
In the regular season, Kawhi averaged 7.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 37% three-point shooting and 49% shooting from the field in 24 minutes for the Spurs.
Not gonna lie, the three guys ahead of Leonard makes this list a complete joke. Irving had a better season but missed almost half the season with a random assortment of injuries. Putting Rubio in the top 10 for rookies is a complete joke; the guy missed more than half the season and when he was playing he was a turnover maniac and one of the worst jumpshooters ever. Faried can dunk, and that's about it. I would have only put Irving over Leonard
It is 100% about hype. Not much exciting about fitting seamlessly into a winning system and playing your role. If I was an unbiased voter I might have put Faried second just because everyone loves an underdog. Plus, of the four players it would mean the most to Faried since he is the least likely to ever make an all-star team. Kawhi could be an All-Star in the next year or two. What western conference SF will beat him out for the honor of backing up Durant?
i cant stand these votes. i mean rubio 2nd? he barely made it half the season. faried was good but he wasnt consistent all season only really the last 1/3 or so of the season. (mainly after they traded nene).
IMO leonard is to quiet, not enough flash or attitude to have garnered any more attention BUT thats why we love him!
None of these players would be a better fit with the current Spurs. The point guards would be backing up Tony, and Faried is a dreaded undersized 4. How did so many teams miss on Kawhi? What did PATFO see that no one else did? Kawhi should have been the second pick in the draft.