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Kawhi Leonard named to All-NBA Second Team

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2018-19 honour marks Leonard’s third All-NBA appearance

NBA Awards 2019: Kawhi Leonard named to All-NBA Second Team Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

It’s a week of honours for Kawhi Leonard: Yesterday, he was named to the NBA All-Defensive second team, and today, he was named to the All-NBA second team:

This is the third time Leonard has been named All-NBA; he previously made the first team in 2016 and 2017. Leonard led the Raptors in scoring per game, free throw shooting percentage and steals per game, and was second on the team in rebounding per game. His 26.6 points per game and 7.3 rebounds per game were both career highs.

Leonard received 73 second-team votes and 23 third-team votes, giving him 242 total points — good for the ninth-most among players receiving votes. Among Leonard’s Raptors teammates, Pascal Siakam received four third-team votes, and Kyle Lowry received one third-team vote.

Joining Leonard on the second team are Golden State’s Kevin Durant, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Portland’s Damian Lillard and Boston’s Kyrie Irving.

On the first team are Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Houston’s James Harden, Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Oklahoma City’s Paul George. Harden and Antetokounmpo were unanimous first-team vote getters, with 100 votes apiece.

Rounding out the third team are OKC’s Russell Westbrook, LeBron James of the Laker’s, Utah’s Rudy Gobert, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker and Detroit’s Blake Griffin.

What, ultimately, are we to make of Leonard’s very, very good season with the Raptors? Seems like you could throw a lot of caveats at it. It was very good — he was second-team All-NBA! Yeah, but he “only” played in 60 games. They won 58 games anyway! Yeah, but the regular season doesn’t matter. They’re in the Eastern Conference Finals! Yeah, but if they’d won a couple more games, maybe they’d have home court in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Leonard has said he considers the regular season akin to practice, and the All-NBA teams — as much of an honour as they are — are regular season awards. Kawhi, and this Raptors team, were built for the playoffs... and the success of Kawhi’s season, and Toronto’s, will come down to the outcomes of these Eastern Conference Finals.