Now that Kawhi Leonard is in Toronto, the Raptors’ players, coaches, and executives have a little less than a year to make their case as to why he should stick with the team when he becomes a free agent next summer. We’ll see if their efforts paid off next July, but when it comes to first impressions, Nick Nurse seems to think he did a pretty great job.
Nurse told Dave Feschuk of The Toronto Star about when he met Leonard for the first time last week. While he was planning on meeting the Leonard that everyone expects — quiet, unassuming, etc. — Nurse says things between himself and his new star went “great.”
“I sat down and said, ‘Do you have any questions?’ And he started firing them,” Nurse said. “And it just led us to a really easygoing (conversation). Not what I was expecting. Very smart. Very intelligent. Very engaging. Really enjoyed it … (Management) had to drag us out of there in the end because they had to go do something else. But it was great.
“We could have gone forever. (Raptors management) kept knocking on the door and I was like, ‘A couple more minutes.’ Because we were really into it,” Nurse said. “It was fun to listen to his take. He asked me, ‘How are you going to use me? Where are you going to get me the ball? What do you see?’ And I told him, ‘Listen. To me, you can do pretty much everything. You can post. You can drive. You can handle it up the floor. You can play screen and roll. You can come off pindowns.’ I said, ‘Did I miss anything?’ He’s like, ‘No, that’s about it.’ I said, ‘You’ll probably be doing all that stuff.’ ”
As Nurse tells it, at one point, Leonard “lit up like a Christmas tree” during their conversation, which must have been a welcomed sign considering how chilly Leonard reportedly was towards the idea of playing in Toronto in the immediate aftermath of his trade.
(Via The Toronto Star)