Although we are yet to see any clips of Kawhi Leonard working out this summer, the Toronto Raptors insist that their new superstar is back to full health and looking good.
The two-time All-Star only played nine games last season for the San Antonio Spurs due to a right quad injury but he’s now made a full recovery.
That’s according to new Raptors assistant coach Phil Handy who has spent time working with the superstar this summer.
Handy was the man who posted the viral image of a star-studded workout featuring Leonard, LeBron James and Kevin Durant recently.
In an interview on Toronto Talk Sports, he claimed that the 27-year-old is back to his old self and has no limitations.
“He’s doing great,” Handy said of Leonard. “He’s in great shape. His body looks good.
“He’s feeling good. He’s moving well, so I don’t anticipate any issues or problems.”
The two-time Defensive Player of the Year was acquired in the blockbuster trade of the offseason as Toronto offloaded their longtime star DeMar DeRozan.
Proving his health
There has been obvious concern over his health after he practically missed the entire 2017-18 campaign.
But he passed his physical with the Raptors which was a positive sign for the franchise.
Handy said the UCLA work out with James and Durant was at a high level and it gave him real encouragement that Leonard can get back to competing with the best.
“The level they worked at was at an all-time high,” Handy said. “They just really competed. They pushed each other. They encouraged each other.”
Before his injury setback, Leonard was easily one of the best two-way players in the NBA and a serious MVP candidate – twice finishing in the top three in voting.
If he can get back to his best, Toronto will be legitimate contenders to win the Eastern Conference and compete in the NBA Finals for the first time in their history.
LeBron’s departure from the east has opened the door which is why the Raptors decided to act and take a gamble on the small forward.
He’s widely expected to head to Los Angeles as a free agent next summer but the team felt they couldn’t miss an opportunity to land one of the league’s elite players.
A trip to the finals may potentially convince him to commit his long-term future to the Canadian outfit.
If he is back to 100 percent and looking great on the court again, it should excite fans in ‘The Six’ for the season ahead.
CLICK HERE to listen to Episode Two of the new GiveMeSport NBA podcast, featuring New York Times senior writer Marc Stein. Subscribe for all future episodes.