Report: Warriors consider Kawhi Leonard a bigger individual problem than James Harden
The Golden State Warriors will head into a barnburner of a series against the Toronto Raptors, finally facing a different team from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. While LeBron James won’t be there, the two-time defending champions will have another problem of their own: Kawhi Leonard, who they “unequivocally regard” as a bigger individual challenge than James Harden, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.
Unlike Harden, Leonard is a two-way player, incredibly good at both ends of the floor and able to dominate a game with his scoring or his elite-level defense.
No longer is the strategy of forcing the other team’s best player to play defense a strategy that the Warriors can employ, considering they will want to stay as far away from “The Klaw” as possible throughout the series.
The Warriors, however, possess the most effective weapon against a great half-court all-around defender: Draymond Green. Green’s ability to turn defense into offense by pushing the ball at an incessant pace will force Leonard and company to backpedal, making every rotation and step crucial against a team that has punished its opponents on the fast break.
There will be times when the game slows down and Leonard will get his share of stops, giving the Raptors the chance to make a run. Leonard certainly isn’t flying under the radar against a team with championship pedigree, and he has the respect of Golden State.
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