Kawhi Leonard is the complete package for the Toronto Raptors

Kawhi Leonard (Photos by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Kawhi Leonard (Photos by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

In what has to be considered the trade of the summer, the San Antonio Spurs sent Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to the Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl, and a conditional first round pick.

Before diving into what Kawhi brings to the Raptors, I feel it’s important to first say thank you to DeMar. From day one DeMar showed nothing but class and respect for both the city and the fans of Toronto. He never once showed any disrespect or disdain for having to come play in Toronto and we are eternally grateful for that. You’ve been the driving force behind this franchise and you will be missed.

Now, with that out-of-the-way let’s talk about the dinosaur in the room (see what I did there),  Kawhi Leonard and what he brings to the Raptors.

Leadership and guidance.

While Leonard is definitely not known for his vocalism and loud leadership he’s still a seven-year veteran who has proven himself at the highest possible level in the sport. Leonard has just about done it all when it comes to the NBA; he’s been through the ringer and made it back to the other side.

Leonard will be expected to lead by example for players like OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam. Leonard’s two-way game is the best in the league and should be a bar for the youngins.

He can lead by example, especially when it comes to Anunoby who has been heavily compared to Leonard during his first pro year.

Leonard won’t be asked to lead the charge vocally, seeing as Kyle Lowry already holds that position, but he will definitely be leaned upon.

An MVP Candidate

The departure of DeRozan was bound to leave a big hole in the Raptors line-up. DeRozan, for the most part, carried the load offensively for the Raptors.

He was tabbed as the ‘go-to-guy’ and even put up an “MVP-esque” performance last year, reaching new levels to his game during the regular season. But, with the addition of Leonard, the Raptors managed to replace their best player with someone even better.

When healthy Leonard has managed to put up astounding numbers, in his last fully healthy season Leonard averaged 25.5ppg/5.8 rpg/3.5 apg/1.8 spg all while shooting 48.5/38/88.

Leonard has also seen his fair share of achievements and awards. Leonard is an NBA Champion and Finals MVP (2014), has been selected to four all Defensive-Teams, two All-NBA teams, and is a two-time defensive player of the year.

Leonard has also proven to be able to withstand the burden of having to carry a team, as he was the first option on both offense and defense for the Spurs. He proved himself by placing 3rd in MVP voting during his last healthy season (2017). Clearly, Leonard’s accolades speak for themselves and Toronto should be ready for a superstar.

The best version of the Raptors team ever.

The addition of Leonard also helps create one of the stretchiest and deadliest defensive teams in the NBA. Not only will the Raptors be shoring up their defense but the addition of Leonard will improve the team offensively as well.

Throughout his career, Leonard has been highly touted for being one of the best two-way players in the league. He is one of the best perimeter defenders in the history of the game and his offense is no joke either.

Danny Green also adds yet another defensive stud with an offensive upside.


The acquisition of a player of Leonard’s stature is ground shattering for the Raptors. Leonard alone raises the team’s floor yet another level. But with all the upside that Leonard brings, fans need to remember there are risks in this deal. Such as the risk of Leonard leaving after a year or another year filled with injuries.

More. Three young free-agent targets for the Toronto Raptors. light

Keep all of that in mind if you’re given the chance to trade for a player of Leonard’s stature and talent you need to. Top five players don’t become available often but when they do you must do everything in your power to acquire him. Toronto, the player you have been waiting for has arrived and his name is Kawhi Leonard.