The accolades keep piling up for Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs. Just one season removed from being named 2014 NBA Finals MVP, the forward was named the Kia NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
Leonard — the first Spurs player to receive the honor since David Robinson in 1992 — averaged a league-high 2.31 steals per game this season. He has already recorded five steals in the first two games of the playoffs against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The 6-foot-7 Air Jordan-sponsored forward has been terrorizing opponents this season in his Air Jordan XX9s. For the playoffs, Leonard has faced the Clippers in two different player-edition colorways of the shoe: a two-toned gray with a wave pattern throughout the upper and silver outsole and the predominantly white colorway with a silver and translucent outsole and a black Jordan logo on the side.
It’s fitting that Leonard is under the umbrella of Brand Jordan. Michael Jordan, a defensive standout throughout his career, was named Defensive Player of the Year in 1988.
A panel of 129 sportswriters and broadcasters in the U.S. and Canada gave Leonard 37 first-place votes and a total of 333 points. Although Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors received more first-place votes — worth five points each — than Leonard did, Leonard’s 41 second-place votes — worth three points each — gave him the edge.