The NBA announced its two annual All-Defensive teams today, and Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard made the second team as a forward.
Congratulations to Kawhi Leonard on being named to the 2018/19 All-Defensive Second Team! #WeTheNorth | @Raptors pic.twitter.com/NIT6XXrkF2— NBA Canada (@NBACanada) May 22, 2019
Leonard is — almost unbelievably — the first Toronto Raptor to ever make an All-Defensive squad.
Leonard led the Raptors with 1.8 steals per game and was second on the team with 7.3 rebounds (a career high); he also contributed 3.4 defensive win shares, second on the team behind Pascal Siakam.
This is Leonard’s fifth All-Defensive team selection; he has three first-team selections. This year he received five first team votes, and 29 second team votes, for a total of 39 points.
Leonard’s teammates Siakam and Danny Green both narrowly missed making the squad; Green actually received more votes than Leonard — 19 first and 28 second, for 66 total points — but faced stiff competition in the guard category. Siakam finished with 24 points in the forward category. Kyle Lowry also received three second-team votes. That four Raptors received votes, and four finished so high, really does speak to the superb level of defense they’ve played this season — defense that continues to be on display in their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Speaking of Milwaukee, two Bucks feature on the All-Defensive first team: Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe. They’re joined by Utah’s Rudy Gobert, Boston’s Marcus Smart, and Oklahoma City’s Paul George.
Joining Leonard on the second team are Jrue Holiday from New Orleans, Joel Embiid from Philadelphia, and Draymond Green and Klay Thompson from Golden State.