The San Antonio Spurs have been a championship caliber team for the past 15+ years since they won their first NBA Championship in 1999. Tim Duncan was there when the Spurs won their first title. Both Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker aided in the Spurs next three championships in 2003, 2005, and 2007. The next wave of stars for San Antonio seem to becoming together with the likes of Danny Green, who had a major breakthrough for his career in the 2011-12 season, emerging as the starting shooting guard for the Spurs, and a promising young talent in Kawhi Leonard.
Kawhi Leonard, who was named to the NBA All Rookie Team in 2012. In fact, before the start of that season, Head Coach Gregg Popovich stated that Leonard would be the next face of the Spurs
(1.) “I think he’s going to be a star. And as time goes on, he’ll be the face of the Spurs, I think. At both ends of the court, he is really a special player. And what makes me be so confident about him is that he wants it so badly.
“He wants to be a good player, I mean a great player. He comes early, he stays late, and he’s coachable, he’s just like a sponge. When you consider he’s only had (two years) of college and no training camp yet, you can see that he’s going to be something else.”
Popovich may very well be right! This past season Leonard was named to the NBA All Defensive Second Team, but has also come up big recently on the offensive side in the Spurs past two games against the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals. Leonard scored 20+ points both in each game, and lead all scorers with 29 in Game 3 ( A career high, both regular season and playoffs). Leonard also had a strong game on the boards in Game 4, collecting 14 rebounds, nearly doubling his total from the first three games combined (8)!
With more time, experience, and the eventual retirement of Tim Duncan, Leonard will be molded into a complete player that reaches his full potential and like Gregg Popovich said, become the next face of the team. And being under the guidance of a Head Coach like Popovich, not only will he reach it, (Here comes my bold statement) but perhaps go above and beyond and end up as one of the all time greats when his career is over!
UPDATE: Kawhi Leonard recorded 22 points, 10 rebounds in Game 5 of the Spurs 104-87 win. Leonard was named the NBA Finals MVP!
Kawhi Leonard Averages in 5 Games of NBA Finals (17.8 PPG (61.2% FG), 6.4 RPG, 1.6 SPG) is the 2014 NBA Finals
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