Found March 23, 2013 on
Kawhi Leonard is entering his second season as a member of the San Antonio Spurs, but you wouldn't guess that with the way he's carried himself.
Leonard has been part of a new trend within the team of allowing younger players to showcase their talents immediately over having them wait on the bench for a year. Leonard not only has impressed the fans so far in his young career but also has garnered the respect of head coach Gregg Popovich.
After the San Antonio Spurs squeaked by the Utah Jazz on Friday night, coach Pop had some words about Kawhi's improvements.
"Kawhi (Leonard) is a competitor. He's not afraid to shoot the ball,' said Popovich. "He knows he has a license to play. We went to him a couple of times down the stretch in regulation and he came through. He's a fine player."
When the team traded fan favorite George Hill for Leonard two seasons ago, they were expecting something closer to what Bruce Bowen used to be. We've been seeing a mature process out of Leonard, something that the Spurs have lacked in a starting small forward in years. Leonard has steadily improved into a solid overall player with some Bowen-like defense and also developing a game that was expected out of Richard Jefferson during his tenure in silver and black.
Kawhi's been averaging 11.7ppg on 49% shooting this season and shooting 37% from the 3-point line. His shooting is what has helped the Spurs stay atop of the Western Conference this season, even when Tony Parker was out with injury for three weeks. His game is versatile where he can spot up and shoot or handle the ball in transition or at the top of the key.
Leonard also gave an insight on his mindset on the court after the game.
"If I'm open I'm going to shoot the ball. I'm not thinking about what type of pressure is on the line at the time," Leonard said. "I'm just trying to get the team the win by getting to open spots and shooting the ball."
This is something that we haven't seen from this position in years. Unlike other plaers in his position, Leonard is looking to get a clean look and take the shot without hesitation. He also has the mentality that he can help the team win and that's something a coach can't teach a player. This mindset is what makes Leonard valuable to this team this season and beyond. His lack of pressure for the moment is something that will come out huge in the playoffs, where the world will be watching him.
His composure makes him similar to Tim Duncan in that he's quiet and only seems to care about what he can do to help the team win. If that's the case, is it really surprising that he's earned Pop's respect so soon?
BEST OF MAXIM
The talk this season for the San Antonio Spurs' upcoming offseason has mainly been about Tiago Splitter. He's a free agent this season and his improving play has earned him the attention for it. The team also has other free agents such as Manu Ginobili and Stephen Jackson, but they've been seen as players who'll return with a discount. While it's believed they...
When you are in the your first year playing for the San Antonio Spurs, how can you ensure that you will get minutes during the push for the playoffs and the playoffs themselves?
If you are Nando De Colo, you make your presence felt on the defensive end along with continuing to do the little things that don’t show up on the stat sheet. You also show now fear or backing down...
Spurs guard Tony Parker is back from an ankle sprain and likely to play against the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
The All-Star has missed eight games since injuring his left ankle in a victory against Sacramento on March 1. His return comes about one week sooner than the Spurs originally estimated.
The Spurs listed their leading scorer as probable against the Jazz. The 30-year-old...
Tony Parker had 22 points in his return from an eight-game absence, Tim Duncan added 19 points and 16 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs escaped with a 104-97 overtime victory against the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
Kawhi Leonard added 21 points, including five in overtime, and Danny Green had 15 points for San Antonio, which remains 2 1/2 games ahead of Oklahoma City in the West...
The matchup for tonight when the San Antonio Spurs visit the Houston Rockets will be between Kawhi Leonard and Chandler Parsons.
In three games against the San Antonio Spurs, Parsons has averaged 17ppg this season. He's shooting 35% from the 3-point line and 48% overall from the field. Parsons is a 6'9" sharpshooting small forward who can easily get clean shots over...
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Tony Parker had 22 points in his return from an eight-game absence, Tim Duncan added 19 points and 16 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs escaped with a 104-97 overtime victory against the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
Kawhi Leonard added 21 points, including five in overtime, and Danny Green had 15 points for San Antonio, which remains 2 games ahead of Oklahoma...
Tony Parker will be active and available for Friday’s home game vs the Jazz, returning earlier than expected. After injuring his ankle March 1st against the Sacramento Kings, Parker was estimated to miss about four weeks when an MRI revealed a left ankle sprain, but a return tonight would make it exactly three weeks the All-Star point guard has been sidelined. The Spurs, who...
In 11 games for the Spurs this season, Aron Baynes has averaged 2.2 points and 1.4 rebounds in 6.6 minutes.
After four quarters of basketball with the San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz all locked up at 90, Spurs guard Tony Parker, who returned from injury revealed when he felt his best, overtime.
"I felt like I never left the team," said Parker (22 points, 5 assists) of his play in overtime as he led his team to a 104-97 victory on Friday at the AT&T Center.
With Tony Parker back, the San Antonio Spurs appear to be in much better shape as they continue their quest for the top seed in the Western Conference.
Parker has also been a big reason why the Spurs have an opportunity to wrap up their first four-game season sweep of the Houston Rockets since 2005-06 on Sunday night.
Following his eight-game absence because of a sprained left...
The San Antonio Spurs (52-16) and the Utah Jazz (34-34) will face off tonight in San Antonio in what could be a possible first round playoff matchup preview with the Spurs sitting atop the Western Conference and the Jazz trailing the Lakers for the final playoff spot. It might also be the return of guard Tony Parker to the Spurs' lineup after dealing with a left ankle injury...
With 1:23 remaining in the midst of a Tony Parker 10-0 run, Patrick Beverly of the Houston Rockets blocked a Danny Green layup where Green had a 3-on-2 advantage with Parker and Kawhi Leonard by his side (93-89). When the Rockets took the ball back to their side, the end result was a Chandler Parsons 3-pointer that cut the Spurs’ lead to one (93-92).
Parker would make two more...
Matt Bonner I hate that it had to be you.
It seems to me that defenders are throwing caution to wind this season and sacrificing their bodies and egos for the good of the team. We’ve seen Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Knight and Boston Celtics veteran Jason Terry receive the most devastating of posterizations this season, and unfortunately, the San Antonio Spurs power forward can...