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Kawhi Leonard wins East Player of the Week (again)

The Raptors’ just put together another 3-0 week, with Kawhi Leonard leading the way statistically, and with late-game heroics.

Toronto Raptors Kawhi Leonard as 2019 NBA All-Star Game starter John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

After another 3-0 week for the Raptors, one in which he personally saved Toronto’s ass twice, Kawhi Leonard is your definitive Eastern Conference Player of the Week. (Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, meanwhile, takes the award in the West.)

The NBA has provided this helpful graphic to make the numerical case:

For those who can’t see the embedded tweet: Leonard averaged 30.7 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 3.3 steals over the past seven days. My addition to these facts is the insane fact that Kawhi also shot 54 percent from the field, and 47 percent from three. This is some hyper-efficient basketball, played under the most extreme conditions.

What else stands out? Some more numbers: Kawhi went off for 41 points in a double OT game in Washington, one in which he scored most of the Raptors’ points down the stretch. There was also the contest against Atlanta, which saw Kawhi grab the game-saving steal, then make the play at the rim against Trae Young. And we can add in his 20-11 double-double against the Nets, one of his 11 on the season.

There’s a case to be made that the Raptors would still be a decent enough team without Kawhi, what with a (healthy) Kyle Lowry orchestrating things and maximizing the moxie of Toronto’s roster. But good lord: look at those numbers again. Then recall the highlights of the past week. With one man causing this much havoc on both ends of the floor, it’s no wonder the Raptors remain atop the league standings.

It’s been elevated to a state of mind, so say it with me now like a calming mantra: Kawhi Leonard is a Toronto Raptor.