"The Klaw" shows an incredible sixth sense in guarding the paint.
Kawhi Leonard boasts a resume that includes two NBA Defensive Player of the Year trophies in back to back seasons before he fell victim to injuries. In last night's 105-112 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Kawhi Leonard showed us just why they call him "The Klaw."
On a defensive play, the Toronto Raptors social media department captioned "seeing the ball is overrated," Kawhi Leonard jets to the ground in anticipation of Gorgui Dieng's bounce pass. As you can see below, Kawhi is able to track the ball with his back turned on the play, putting his "rehabbed body" at risk in the process. A sustained level of commitment like the one Kawhi displayed in this early contender for "Defensive Play of the Year," will make him a fan favorite in Toronto, if he isn't already.
The former Finals MVP is currently putting the finest totals of his career, on a new-look Raptors that looks like it could challenge for a conference championship for the second year running.
Although it may seem premature to label the year's best play (so far), Kawhi Leonard is consummately proving that elite defensively play isn't only predicated by rim protection and blocks. Where do you have him ranked next to players like Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, and Kevin Durant in terms of man-to-man coverage?