The San Antonio Spurs didn’t make many off-season moves—instead they’re opting to rely on internal improvement.
One of those players that fans should be keeping an eye on is Kawhi Leonard who will be entering his second season. Leonard more than lived up to the hype with his skill-set and a calm demeanor which rivals that of Tim Duncan. Leonard’s rookie season has been a gargantuan success. On defense, Leonard was pretty good. He kept his focus and challenged catches, dribbles and shots.
As former Spur George Hill was entering the last year of his contract, the Spurs traded him for the 15th pick which became Leonard. The trade seems genius in hindsight, but I’m sure even the Spurs didn’t know what they had in Leonard. But the main motivation to go forward with the trade was the contract Hill was going to command at the end of his rookie contract.
The scouts projected him to be a solid defender and rebounder and wondered if he had the perimeter skills to play small forward at the next level. Without any formal training camp, Leonard exploded onto the scene as one of the league’s most talented rookies and soon found his name in the starting lineup.
If you just look at the stats, Leonard wasn’t incredibly impressive, but taking into account his playing time and the limited opportunities he had to showcase his talent on such a deep roster, but there should be no doubt that he was one of the best players from his draft-class.
He also will be given a bigger role on offense, and after seeing such an improvement with his shooting last season. And he showed in this year’s summer league that he is capable of handling the ball.
This season we will witness Leonard take that next step to fulfilling his potential.