The Raptors are taking a long view on Kawhi Leonard, ensuring that he remains in good health throughout the rest of the season, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports writes. The team rested Leonard against the undefeated Bucks on Monday, the first half of a back-to-back set against Milwaukee and Philadelphia.
Leonard missed most of last season with a quad injury and has spent this season regaining his stamina, working to get back into a consistent game shape. He’s averaged 27.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG and 3.2 APG so far on the year.
“It feels good, [I] just don’t want to overdo it too early since I missed out on a year,” Leonard said about his quad. “It’s just injury prevention, so [I’m] just not playing back-to-backs for right now.”
When healthy, Leonard is a top-tier defender who’s improved vastly on the offensive end. The Raptors acquired him in a trade with the Spurs this past offseason, labeling him as a player who could lead the team to a deep playoff run.
Toronto is scheduled for 12 back-to-backs on the season. It’s unclear how long Leonard will rest for these sets, with the 27-year-old in his eighth NBA season.
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- Several Warriors players have labeled the Celtics as the biggest threat in their quest to a three-peat this season, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick. Players such as Kevin Durant and Draymond Green recognized the strengths of Boston, including the team’s ability to switch on defense and their depth off the bench.
- Former NBA center Tiago Splitter has spent this season with the Nets sharing coaching and scouting duties. “Our goal this year is to improve last year’s result when we had 28 wins,” Splitter said, according to Nets Daily. “We want to do more than that, but we also think about the long run.” Splitter retired last February and joined the Nets in a dual role shortly after.
- Derek Bodner of The Athletic examines the Sixers‘ decision to decline the third-year option in Furkan Korkmaz‘s contract. Philadelphia will have an extra $2MM in cap space next summer as a result, and Korkmaz will reach free agency on July 1.