Title: Examining how Nick Nurse utilized Kawhi Leonard in his Raptors debut
Date: October 18, 2018
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about how the Toronto Raptors used Kawhi Leonard in his debut.
When the lights went down and the introduction video for the 2018-19 Toronto Raptors began, the message was clear: Kawhi Leonard is a Raptor now and, for as long as he’ll have it, this is his team. The video opened with a panning shot of a massive hand gripping a basketball, as if the claw on the ball that makes up the Raptors logo had always been waiting for The Klaw. His introduction came last, his reception came loudest and, by the end of the night, nascent MVP chants rattled around Scotiabank Arena in a collective wish-casting of the year to come.
That Kyle Lowry was unquestionably the best Raptor on the floor in a 116-104 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers did little to temper the excitement of Leonard’s Raptors debut, nor should it have. Lowry is the constant, Leonard the relative unknown. Lowry has developed an innate sense of when and how to get his without detracting from anyone else on the floor, Leonard is still working to find the right fit.
On Wednesday, Leonard fit in pretty well. He finished with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and two assists, playing to a plus-13 in 37 minutes. Let’s take a look at exactly how that fit worked out.