Published On: Wed, May 22nd, 2019

Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard named to NBA all-defensive team for a fifth time

MILWAUKEE—Kawhi Leonard picked up right where he left off, as one of the NBA’s premier defenders.

Leonard, who missed all but nine games of the 2017-18 season, was named to the league’s 2019 all-defensive second team in results announced Wednesday afternoon.

It is the fifth time Leonard, a former defensive player of the year winner, was named to an all-defensive team. He now has three first-team selections and two second-time awards on his resumé.

Boston guard Marcus Smart, Milwaukee guard Eric Bledsoe, Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Oklahoma City forward Paul George and Utah centre Rudy Gobert were named to the first team.

New Orleans guard Jrue Holiday, Golden State guard Klay Thompson, Warriors forward Draymond Green and Philadelphia centre Joel Embiid join Leonard on the second team.

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A panel of 100 members of the media who cover the league voted and had to choose two guards, two forwards and a centre for each team.

After rattling off three of Leonard’s prime defensive traits — size, strength and instinct — Raptors coach Nick Nurse said Leonard’s determination sets him apart.

“I don’t want to say this fourth; it probably should be first,” the coach admitted. “But he wants to stop you, and that goes a long way.”

Doug Smith is a sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @smithraps

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Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard named to NBA all-defensive team for a fifth time