Toronto Raptors: Whose stock is up/down, plus multiple career-nights

Toronto Raptors - Norman Powell (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Norman Powell (Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Kawhi Leonard – Toronto Raptors Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images) /

Kawhi Leonard – Stock Up

Well, what a night Kawhi had against the Utah Jazz.

Leonard was 16-of-22 for 45 points, he went to the line 17 times and hit 13 of his shots from the stripe. Man, he didn’t even hit a three all night! He dominated in isolation and was 12-13 from inside 14-feet. What makes that stat even more impressive is the fact that the rim-protecting big man for the evening was Rudy Gobert, arguably the best in the league at swatting shots and defending the rim.

Leonard has taken full control of an offense that needed a leader with Kyle Lowry out injured – yes Leonard was already the focal point of the offense but he had Lowry to facilitate and lean on during tough stretches. Kawhi is averaging 26.6 points per game without Lowry in the team, down only slightly from his season average of 27.1 points. In those games, Leonard has had huge nights against Cleveland, Utah, Miami and another big performance against Cleveland. He’s been efficient in those games too, and the Raptors came out on top in each one.

As previously mentioned, Thursday night against the Spurs was an emotionally charged night. Kawhi shook off the boos and defended DeMar particularly well, he was the only one who really stood a chance against him. He was the Raptors best player too, he had a team-high 21 points and was the only real shot the team had at putting up points. Once again though, he didn’t hit on either of his two three-pointers.

Case for/against pulling C.J. Miles from the rotation. dark. Next

Regardless, Kawhi carried the team as it sputtered on both ends of the court. The man can’t do it alone – no matter how good he is. We need Kyle back, fast.

Same time next week people, see you then!