The San Antonio Spurs lost Kawhi Leonard in their game on Wednesday night, which comes as more bad injury news for a franchise that is probably used to it by now this year. They may sign forward Othyus Jeffers as a filler in the meantime, and head coach Gregg Popovich’s comments about the forward induced a chuckle from this scribe.
“What are you talking about? He’s a stopper,” Popovich joked to USA TODAY Sports about Leonard’s stop gap replacement. “This guy, he’s the next Scottie Pippen on defense. You’ve got to be kidding me. We just uncovered a gem that nobody else knows about. You watch.”
You can always count on Pop to have a sense of humor even in dark times like these, and will be hoping that Leonard can get totally healthy for the playoffs. Their coach is hopeful that the basketball IQ of his players will help to offset any defensive deficiencies, but fully expecting them to slip a bit as far as Western Conference playoff seeding. That can become crucial when it comes down to game 7 in a playoffs, which the Spurs are all too familiar with.
Power forward Tim Duncan looks ten years younger this year, and rooting for the Big Fundamental to get one more crack at the Finals before his career is done. That might be too much to ask given all of his fortune in the past, but just cannot help but root for him especially after a somewhat publicly messy divorce. Sometimes though, distance can just make the heart grow fonder.