Toronto Raptors Head Coach Nick Nurse recently shared some of his memories from the Raptors’ 2018-19 championship run, in which Kawhi Leonard was named Finals MVP.
Nurse gave some insight as to how Leonard operates, specifically pertaining to load management. Leonard received criticism that year for taking quite a few regular-season games off for rest, but it clearly paid dividends, as he had a healthy postseason, during which he was arguably the best player in the world. But, as Nurse explains, Leonard also paced himself within each game.
Leonard clearly knows his own body, and believes that six and a half great minutes is more valuable than eight solid minutes. Who knows? Perhaps if Leonard checked back in a minute and a half earlier in the fourth quarter of game 7 of the Raptors’ second-round matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers, he wouldn’t have had the same amount of lift on the shot that became his now-infamous buzzer-beater that won his team the series.