Toronto Raptors: Kawhi Leonard is a one-man army

(Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Every Thursday we bring you the Toronto Raptors Player of the Week. This week’s award goes to Kawhi Leonard, who has been impressive the past three games.

Who would have thought that come the New Year that the Toronto Raptors’ healthiest superstar would be Kawhi Leonard? No one?  Figures. But, that’s the kind of luck the Raptors continue to have. The injuries have begun to pile up and the Raptors find themselves relying on their superstar more than anticipated.

If the Raptors are going to continue their fight to own the East, they need to demand their bench provide a little more offense. But, for now, the Raptors still have their superstar Kawhi Leonard doing everything in his power to carry the team.

Kawhi Leonard’s week

At first glance the three-game week seemed fairly easy, with the obvious danger being the Utah Jazz. However, things were quickly flipped on their heads as Nikola Vucevic and the Orlando Magic turned the tables on the Raptors.

The Raptors got out to a 19-9 lead but that went away about as quickly as it came. The Magic stepped it up defensively and completely shut the Raptors offense down, allowing the Raptors to only score on 11 of 51 attempts until the 3rd*.   After the game, the Raptors offense was once again the biggest ‘red flag’** as it sputtered its way to a loss. The Magic have played fairly well (by their standards) this year but this was certainly a big-time underperformance by this Raptors team.

After having suffered one of the worse losses of the season, the Raptors managed to bounce back and squeak out a win against a defensively solid Chicago Bulls team. Out of the gate, the Raptors looked slow, only scoring 14 during the first quarter. The offense found its stride soon afterwards. Leonard closed with a 14-point fourth quarter, as he went 8-8 from the line and helped lead the Raptors to a win.

But the team’s best performance came against the Utah Jazz. With the toughest opponent of the week on their front steps Leonard stepped up in a way he had never before.  Scoring a career-high 45-points Leonard looked unstoppable, hitting shots from everywhere on the court. He went supernova during the third quarter, scoring 19 points and going for seven-for-seven on field goals. This marked Leonard’s third 40+ points performance throughout his career.

Missed the Cut

With the constant injuries, it’s been hard for me to pick anyone other than Leonard for player of the week, especially this week. Even with Pascal Siakam putting up a career-high in points Leonard stood heads above the rest of the group. Hopefully, this next week will be more of a bounce back for the rest of the team.

Next. Toronto Raptors: Is Pascal Siakam deserving of a spot on the All-Star team?. dark

Make sure to check out the Raptors Player of the Week every Thursday on