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Kawhi Leonard continues to make Raptors history, and he hasn’t even finished his first season with the team yet.
The NBA announced that Leonard has been named to the 2018-19 NBA All-Defensive Second Team on Wednesday. It’s the fifth time Leonard has been named to an NBA All-Defensive Team, being named to the First Team in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17, as well as the Second Team in 2013-14.
Kawhi is the first player in franchise history to receive the honour.
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Leonard averaged career-highs in points (26.6) and rebounds (7.3) this season, along with 3.3 assists and 1.80 steals (seventh-best in the NBA) in 34.0 minutes during 60 games. Among players with at least 100 steals, Leonard was one of only two (Philadelphia’s Jimmy Butler was the other) to record more steals (106) than personal fouls (87).
Kawhi’s brilliance on defence has been on full display for the Raptors during the playoffs, particularly in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Raptors are 2-0 after head coach Nick Nurse began matching Leonard up against Milwaukee Bucks 6-foot-11 superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo – who has a four-inch height advantage.
Joining Leonard on the NBA All-Defensive Second Team are Joel Embiid (Philadelphia), Draymond Green (Golden State), Jrue Holiday (New Orleans), and Klay Thompson (Golden State).
Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee), Rudy Gobert (Utah), Paul George (Oklahoma City), Marcus Smart (Boston), and Eric Bledsoe (Milwaukee) were named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team. Antetokounmpo, Gobert, and George are also finalists for the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award – an award Leonard won twice with San Antonio in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
The All-Defensive Teams were selected by a global panel of 100 sportswriters and broadcasters. Voters selected two guards, two forwards, and one centre for each team.
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