For years, the San Antonio Spurs have relied on their veteran core group of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Giinbili to keep them among the best teams in the NBA. But with forward Kawhi Leonard making a jump in his second year, the Spurs now have a player that adds some need youth to their aging roster.
Leonard was originally drafted 15th overall by the Indiana Pacers in the 2012 draft, but was quickly traded to the Spurs for point guard George Hill on draft night. San Antonio for years were looking for a small forward to add to their lineup, and Leonard is just the player.
As a rookie last season Leonard averaged a modest 7.9 points and 5.1 rebounds while playing just 24 minutes, shooting an impressive .494 from the field and .376 from the three-point line. This season Leonard was given an increased role and in turn their was a spike in his production, with Leonard averaging 11.9 points and six rebounds while his shooting percentages remaining around the same levels.
Leonard may not be the most athletically gifted player, but he’s smooth and runs the floor well enough to be an asset to what the Spurs do offensively and defensively. Leonard was the type of player that doesn’t need plays called for him while still having an impact on the game in numerous ways.
San Antonio will need Leonard to continue to play at a high level in their upcoming series against the youthful Golden State Warriors, and if not the older Spurs roster could face a tough challenge containing their younger opponents.