It was revealed earlier this week that Kawhi Leonard has purchased a gorgeous home in California for a pretty penny. Of course, the news reignited discussion about whether or not the 27-year-old will be staying north of the border following this season.
While we don’t know and can’t control what the All Star plans to do beyond the 2018-19 campaign, the focus really should be on the present, as the Raptors look to have their best chance ever at competing for a title.
Leonard started against the Houston Rockets on Friday, but the former NBA Finals MVP either hasn’t dressed or has been inactive for Toronto’s previous four games. His last time out on the hardwood, he picked up 33 points in the Raptors 117-108 loss to the Celtics. Since then, Toronto has gone a respectable 3-1 against some weaker competition without their star contributing.
Leonard sitting out games is nothing new. Before that four-game stretch, he’d already been inactive or did not dress for ten contests (usually for the second game of back-to-backs). However, he hadn’t missed more than two games in a row and that’s what stirred up some concern amongst fans.
A recent chat with Micheal Grange of Sportsnet has helped to clear the air surrounding the extended absence.
I spoke with Kawhi Leonard about his week away from the floor and how he's managed his health the season: pic.twitter.com/zFXxj1WQsi
— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) January 25, 2019
Despite the fact that he’s been in and out of the lineup and there have been a number of other injuries that have plagued the team this season, the Raptors’ record of 36-14 has them in the upper echelon of the league. And there’s no denying that Leonard has been a game-breaker when he does suit up for the squad.
He entered Friday’s game riding an impressive streak of 20 straight contests with 20 or more points. He’s also averaging over 31 points per contest since the start of the new year. So, whatever Leonard and Toronto’s medical team are doing to ensure he’s able to perform seems to be working.
Furthermore, they seem to have the bigger picture at the top of their minds.
As long as he’s healthy and able to contribute once the playoffs roll around, talk about him taking games off for rest during the regular season will quickly be forgotten.
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