Raptors' Kawhi Leonard credits load management for NBA Finals run

Kawhi Leonard appreciates the confidence the Toronto Raptors has had in him since last year's trade.

Kawhi Leonard: "The way we laid out the schedule was good."   -  Getty Images

Kawhi Leonard said he would not be leading the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals if not for the team's load management.

Former San Antonio Spurs star Leonard suffered a serious quadricep injury in the 2017 playoffs, which affected him throughout the following season. However, once San Antonio traded Leonard to the Raptors last offseason, it trusted the 2014 NBA champion enough to let him rest periodically throughout the year to avoid reaggravating the injury.

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Leonard — a three-time All-Star — believes his load management in 2018-19 helped Toronto reach the NBA Finals, which the Raptors lead 2-1 against the Golden State Warriors.

"It was good. When it got bad we ended up taking four or five games off," Leonard told ESPN. "If we didn't do that, I wouldn't be here right now for sure. I'm already favouring it. Yeah I mean, the way we laid out the schedule was good. I'm happy."

Leonard only played in 60 of the Raptors' 82 games in 2018-19, but he is arguably having his best playoff performance to date. The 27-year-old is averaging 30.9 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists through 21 postseason games and has helped Toronto secure an advantage over two-time defending champions the Warriors.

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