Kawhi Leonard ‘a winner’ to be respected like LeBron James, says Andre Iguodala

Golden State Warriors’ Andre Iguodala has heaped praise on the Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard as the NBA Finals finale nears.

The Raptors, led by the brilliant Leonard, lead 3-2 in the series, and will win a maiden NBA title if they win Game 6, live on Friday morning at 2am on Sky Sports Arena.

Iguodala said about Leonard: “He has the physical tools that he’s been blessed with. When you have those tools, there is a fine line between those who work at it, and those who rely on talent.

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“He’s one of those guys who puts his work in to get the most out of his physical gifts. Mentally, he is very tough. He is playing freely.”

The Warriors came up against LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers in each of the past four Finals – Iguodala rates Leonard alongside his illustrious former opponent.

“Both great players,” he said. “They have a track record of being winners. That doesn’t go unnoticed. That doesn’t show up in analytics, it doesn’t show up in data.

“When you’re going against that, and you’ve experienced it yourself, you have a different type of respect. [Leonard] is a winner.”

The Warriors’ must-win Game 6 became a harder task when Kevin Durant fell injured in the previous meeting with the Raptors.

Asked if the Warriors would be spurred on by their teammate’s significant Achilles problem, Iguodala said: “Hopefully so. You try to take any type of inspiration and put it into the game, in the right way. You try to channel it into a positive action.

“It is a tough blow – for the league too, because he was the best player.”

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