The Raptors may not have their playoff position set in stone, but they are darn close, so there’s little reason to push Leonard.
Load management has claimed another victim.
Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard will miss Toronto’s matchup with the Heat on Sunday as the team plans to manage his workload toward the end of the season, according to Yahoo Sports.
Toronto star Kawhi Leonard is out Sunday at Miami due to…load management
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) March 9, 2019
Leonard joins LeBron James who missed a game earlier this year with the odd injury designation “load management.” This one is a new one, but it’s something teams have been doing for years, they just haven’t called it this.
In James’ case he was freshly back from a groin injury and for Leonard, the Raptors have all but locked up the No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, so a game against the Heat isn’t an absolute must-play for Leonard.
Toronto is 47-19 on the year and 2 1/2 games back of Milwaukee for first in the East. It leads Indiana by five games with 16 games left to play. The Raptors would have to go 11-5 while the Pacers would need to go 16-0 to even tie them. Or 10-6 and 15-1. You get the picture.
Pushing Leonard to go up one spot when the matchups don’t change greatly in the first or second round may not be worth it.