The 2019 Toronto Raptors were a great defensive squad that won the first-ever NBA championship for Toronto. All-Stars Kyle Lowry and Kawhi Leonard were key in that endeavour, and we saw both have big moments during that championship run. While it only lasted a season, their partnership worked well, and obviously, it was good enough to win a championship.
On an episode of C. J. McCollum's Pull Up podcast, Kyle Lowry commented on Kawhi Leonard's mentality and stated that the way the superstar operates is simply by getting the job done with the ball in his hands, and that rubs some people the wrong way.
Kawhi rubbed people the wrong way because of how he operates. He’s like, 'Yo, give me the ball. I’ma get it done.' You might be like, 'Kawhi, I'm open,' But he's like, 'Ah, I’m gonna get this bucket.'" You understand he’s the best basketball player on your team. Big dog gotta eat... At the end of the day big dog gotta eat. We give you the ball, you do your thing. As long as we win games, we're all good.
My role just changed, because the year before I score a little bit more. He was averaging 24-25, and we had other guys around. Marc Gasol, Danny Green. Freddy was coming into his own, Pascal was coming into his own, we had Serge. My scoring went way down, but my assists went up, because I knew I had to make sure big dog ate.
There's no doubt that Kawhi Leonard was the best player on the 2019 Raptors, and that he was extremely dominant during their run. It seems as though Lowry understood that he was the best, hence his "big dog" comments about Leonard. Generally, you want the ball in your best player's hands, and sometimes the best thing to do is play a supplementary role.