One day after being named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team, Kawhi Leonard has been named to the All-NBA Second Team. It is his third time being named to an All-NBA team, as he has twice been a member of the first team.
When on July 18 the Toronto Raptors traded DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl for Leonard and Danny Green, there were medical concerns surrounding Leonard, who had sat out all but nine games of of the 2017-18 season with a serious quadriceps injury. Leonard’s performance this year after losing practically a whole season to injury has been nothing short of spectacular.
Though Leonard only played in 60 games, he had an incredible season by any standards. His per game averages of 26.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.8 steals, 0.4 blocks, and only 2.0 turnovers were incredible, as were his shooting splits of 49.5/37.1/85.4. His advanced stats showed a similar all-nba level of production, as Leonard finished the season in the top-20 for advanced metrics like VORP, box score plus-minus, win shares per-48, offensive win shares, and PER. Leonard was Toronto’s first option all year long, and he was phenomenal on both ends whenever he played. Toronto’s medical plan for Leonard throughout the year, typified by load management rest days, has paid off in spades in the playoffs.
On January 1, Leonard scored 45 points during a 122-116 win over the Utah Jazz. That number stands as his career high, and the fact that he did it on only 22 shots foreshadowed the incredible efficiency he would offer in the playoffs. He was named to the all-star team along with Kyle Lowry, and he generally produced one of the best seasons ever accomplished by a Toronto Raptor. His playoff run has been even better.
In addition to Leonard, Lowry received one third-place vote, and Pascal Siakam received four third-team votes.