Kawhi Leonard Earning Major Respect in the NBA

By: Vanessa Serrao

Thursday, November 1, 2018

 

As for the Toronto Raptors, they have put up quite a show so far this season and it is mostly thanks to Kawhi Leonard. He has shown that he has what it takes to help carry the Toronto Raptors to victory. Many players in the NBA, as well as fans, have respect for Leonard and one of them is Draymond Green. 'I got much respect for him,' Green told Yahoo Sports. Leonard is a two-time winner of the defensive player of the year award. He leads Toronto in rebounds and steals so far this season. His dominant presence is no surprise this season, as he has helped the Raptors to a 7-1 record so far this season. 

Although Leonard is earning a lot of respect, he knows he has to work twice as hard considering the number of games he missed last season due to an injury. He wants to be his best self and go beyond that. Leonard knows that it is still early in the season and that although I am sure he is appreciative of the respect that he is getting from Green. Leonard played a fantastic game against the 76ers, with four steals, which is a season high. It is natural for Leonard if the ball is in front of him as he can poke at it and not lose his defensive spot. Ultimately, he will aim to go for it. 

Draymond Green and Kawhi Leonard without a doubt share similar qualities as athletes. Green has mentioned that he believes that really on Leonard can actually compete with him. That says a lot about what he thinks of Leonard as a player. Draymond Green is identified in the NBA as one of the supreme defenders in the NBA. He lives for that side of the game, has skillful hands, he’s powerful and he knows the game really well. He won the defensive player of the year award in 2018 and will most likely win the award again before his career comes to an end. But let's not forget that Leonard is also a great defender in the league, which is why Green has respect for him as a player. 

Leonard is quite athletic, has a lengthy wingspan and has big hands that he uses to his advantage quite well to grab steals and contest shots. Leonard is also gaining respect as he is playing as if he never got injured last season. Kawhi is definitely a front-runner for the MVP this season given that he’s averaging 27 points and 8 rebounds a night on above 50% for the field and 44% from the 3 point line. But let's not forget that Leonard is part of a new team with a new coach. Change can be good for teams and so far this season change is giving the Raptors something to cheer about. Respect is definitely something that you gain and earn as a player. It is not something earned overnight. To be respected by opponents is definitely something to be proud of, and Kawhi Leonard should be very proud of himself. 

Thank you for reading. I am Vanessa Serrao, sports writer for Barn Burner and author of Anxiety Girl that is available on Amazon.