Kawhi Leonard spoke after his first Raptors practice, and here’s what the Raptors talisman said:
On defensive flexibility…
Watching me play through my career, you’ve watched me guarding multiple positions. It’s great that we have other guys who can do that, that’s what makes us a dangerous team.
How he felt after practice and who he played with…
Felt great. I was talking to the guys and told them I haven’t played 5-on-5 since January. It felt amazing just to play, running up and down and complete.
Everybody on the team. We played 5-on-5, a little mix of everyone.
We’re building a new team this year. It always takes time to create that chemistry, knowing where guys are going to be. Me letting them know where my spots are. That stuff takes time. It takes practice and game play.
What’ll take time to get used to again…
Just positioning yourself on the floor, getting your rhythm down. Remembering your steps to get to the basket, getting to your spots, your wind, just everything pretty much.
On whether offensive rhythm is the key…
No, you need to get your rhythm defensively too, rhythm is not just an offensive game. It’s also on defense. Knowing what guys are going to do, being in your gap space. Getting hands on the balls.
On Siakam and OG:
Don’t know too much about their game, but they bring a lot of energy to the team. They can defend multiple positions and they’re also skilled on the offensive end, are adding stuff to their game. It’s going to make us deeper in our bench and make us a dangerous team.
On defensive flexibility again:
Yeah, that’s what I was just talking about. Me being able to guard multiple position and having other guys on the team being that can do that makes you dangerous. You don’t have to worry about matchups.
Whether he played with Kyle…
Every day is important. Just getting time with everyone, getting acclimated to the team. It’s not going to take one day, it’s going to be a process. Even playing in regular season games.
On Nick Nurse…
He’s open minded. Ready to adjust on the fly, just a brilliant mind. Loves the game of basketball. Got to talk to him more, it’s just my first practice. We’re going to develop a good relationship.
On how much he knows about Nurse:
Not much. I know he did some stuff for the Rockets back in his day, but I don’t know too much about his history.
On taking up a new challenge:
I enjoy a new challenge, like I said, it’s a new team for me. It’s going to take some time, but his stuff is pretty simple. That’s what makes him a good coach, and he adjusts as well. I think I’m going to get the stuff going pretty quickly.
On the practice:
Yeah, they did a great job of letting us move along the drills very quickly, transitioning drills. It’s a great practice today, I enjoyed it. We’re coming back tonight to get some shots up. I’m ready for Round 2.
How much he knows about Canadian Raptors fans?
I don’t know too much about it. It’s my first time living in Canada, playing for the Raptors so I got a lot to learn.