Raptors "Living In The Moment" With Leonard

Is Kawhi Leonard a rental? Maybe, but the Raptors still have the best record in the NBA

After Hours With Amy Lawrence
November 29, 2018 - 10:43 am

USA Today Images

Categories: 

Believe it or not, the Toronto Raptors (18-4) have the best record in the NBA. They lead the Bucks (15-6) by 2.5 games, the 76ers (15-8) by 3.5 games, and the Celtics (11-10) by 6.5 games.

And pretty much no one saw this coming.

“I don’t know that they’re going to stick to that pace,” Toronto’s 590 The Fan host Greg Brady said on After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “That said, we didn’t think the Celtics were last year and they kind of did. I think we’re more surprised that the Sixers had a slow start before they got Jimmy Butler, and I know you talk a lot about the Celtics this season. I think those two things alone are more surprising than where the Raptors are. But if you told me at any point in the season Toronto would be 6.5, 7 games ahead of Boston, no one would have believed that.”

Kawhi Leonard, of course, has been the key piece, as he leads Toronto in scoring (24.3 points per game), rebounds (8.6) and steals (1.8).

Why has the Kawhi-Toronto marriage worked so well?

“I think there’s the idea that people want diminutive superstars here, and I’m not sure sometimes,” Brady said. “DeMar DeRozan was pretty omnipresent. He’d be at schools, and he’d be out at charity events. I don’t want to say Kawhi is not a benevolent person, but he’s just a lot quieter. Morose is too strong, but he sticks to himself. We’ve had dynamic superstars here in 25 years with Vince Carter, Chris Bosh. Kawhi is just a different cat, and it seems to be a fit.”

Kyle Lowry, meanwhile, has been his usual productive self. He is averaging 15.6 points and 10.2 assists per game.

“People were worried about how he was taking this trade,” Brady said. “There were reports all summer that he wasn’t returning calls or texts from his new coach, Nick Nurse, his president Masai Ujiri, who traded DeMar DeRozan. It’s still pretty early, but it looks like a pretty happy marriage here for Kawhi Leonard and everybody else.”

Toronto, though, may want to enjoy it while it lasts. Leonard, 27, can hit free agency after the season.

“Do I think this is still a Raptors rental? Yeah, I do,” Brady said. “And sometimes you just got to enjoy things. You have to just live in the moment, and I think Raptors fans are doing that. I think they think they’ve got the best all-around player in franchise history, and they love this mix of this team.”