MVP Race: James Harden's shooting struggles create opening for others

MVP Race: James Harden's shooting struggles create opening for others

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MVP Race: James Harden's shooting struggles create opening for others

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7. Kawhi Leonard, Toronto Raptors

STATS: 26.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.8 spg, 1.7 3PTs, 49.0 FG%

The Raptors are being very cautious with Kawhi Leonard’s minutes, not only resting him on the second night of back-to-backs but also holding him out of some random contests to restrict his playing time.

Toronto is currently 45-17, which is the second-best record in the East, and their primary concern is entering the playoffs at full strength so they can make a deep run. If the Raptors aren’t able to make a lot of noise this postseason, they may have to worry about Leonard bolting in July when he hits free agency. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports was recently a guest on The HoopsHype Podcast and of all the star free agents available this summer, he’s most intrigued to see how Leonard’s situation plays out.

“I think the Clippers have a really good shot at Kawhi. I really do,” Haynes said. “Give credit to that front office over there and the way they’ve changed the culture… It depends on how things play out in Toronto. I think they really have to, if not win the championship, [at least] get to the NBA Finals to kind of cure the concern. That’s going to be really interesting. I’m looking forward to how [Leonard’s free agency] is going to play out – probably even more so than Kevin Durant’s.”

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