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Kawhi Leonard says Marc Gasol can ’cause a lot of tension on that low block’

Raptors, Marc Gasol, Kawhi Leonard

The Toronto Raptors acquired center Marc Gasol from the Memphis Grizzlies at the trade deadline, and Raptors star small forward Kawhi Leonard says the veteran big man is a great addition to the team.

The Raptors traded shooting guard C.J. Miles, power forward Jonas Valanciunas, swingman Delon Wright, and a 2024 second round pick to Memphis for Gasol, who is a three-time All-Star and former Defensive Player of the Year. Toronto is 3-0 since acquiring the Spaniard and Leonard loves what Gasol brings to the table.

“Just his veteran knowledge, IQ, him being a tough guy, playing defense,” Leonard told Scott Rafferty of NBA.com. “He can also score the ball, cause a lot of tension on that low block and get us open shots.”

Gasol is putting up 10.0 points and 6.3 rebounds with Toronto and shooting 52.2 percent from the floor. As we all know, Gasol is one of the best passing big men in NBA history. He’s not the elite defender he used to be, but Gasol can still protect the rim well.

Playoff basketball is different than regular season basketball. The game slows down and usually the team who executes better in the half-court offense wins. Like Leonard says, the Raptors now have a player in Gasol who can score from the post and command double teams.

Toronto is 43-16 on the season, good for second place in the Eastern Conference standings.