The NBA season entered its last week Sunday and the San Antonio Spurs find themselves in a familiar spot, near the top of the standings. But the way they've done it hasn't been in typical Spurs style. Their offensive is SUPER efficient and I'm not sure there's a team that likes playing with one another more.
However, as has been chronicled over the season, they're just not the defensive juggernaut they used to be (though they're not bad by any means). They don't have Bruce Bowen and they don't have Tim Duncan and a crew a tall, defensive minded bigs like in 2003, 2005 and 2007. Still, the "no Bowen" part looks to be changing as rookie Kawhi Leonard continues to emerge.
He's been hailed as Bowen 2.0 by a lot of guys, including head coach Gregg Popovich. Pop even told USA Today's J. Michael Falgoust that Kawhi could become much more than another Bruce Bowen.
"Kawhi guards the toughest perimeter player on the other team. He's got great length. A great body. Has an inclination to do it. He enjoys the role. He's more gifted than Bruce, skillwise," Popovich said. "Once we figured that out we opened up for him and he worked very hard on his shot, especially his three-point shot. (Assistant coach) Chip England has spent a lot of time with him on that so he's got confidence. He lets it fly. He's not Chris Mullin yet but we don't mind when he takes his open threes."
First off, I would really, REALLY like to see Kawhi with a Chris Mullin crew cut.
Second, Pop didn't even mention that when it comes to driving to the basket, Leonard is already light years ahead of Bruce. Seeing him dunk on guys brings warm feelings to every Spurs fans hearts and many all caps and exclamation points to their tweets. I'm still worried how a 20 year old kid is going to handle the playoffs and I hope he'll gamble a little less on defense, but it's hard to be disappointed with the results so far. So keep getting your dunk on, Kawhi. Keep mumbling during your post game interviews. Keep improving on defense and keep shooting those corner 3's. You've made fans out of a lot us very quickly.
KL in a crew cut, haha. I'm not worried about KL in the playoffs. He seems so stoic & as cool as a cucumber, a la Timmy. Playoffs start this weekend so we'll see.
Kawhi will be an All-Star within the next 4 years. Guaranteed. His skill set is phenomenal and his body is not unlike LeBron James. Before you go crazy I understand completely that there is not another gifted athlete on the planet like James, but to think a 20 year old can have a 6'7 225 body? The guy is long, strong, and more athletic than he shows. The offensive game will come the more he adjusts to the NBA style, but he's done nothing but improve since his freshman year in college and I don't see that stopping anytime soon. Add it all up and like I said, he'll be an All-Star in the next 4 years.
Its phenomenal that a 29 years old player can play like leonard. He has grown by leaps and bounds. He will develop into an outstanding wingman, better than all the guys mentioned.
Maybe it's me but I think Kawhi will be an Iguodala in 2,3 seasons + more. I think he's got the size/rebounding and athleticism to be like Iguodala + he's already a better shooter. I think he'll be a better offensive player that we all think and defensively he can be a shot down perimeter defender for years to come.
@Spursforever69 Whoa, I hope your right but KL doesn't have IA's athletic ability. Doesn't mean he can't be just as good or a better overall player than him though. Besides continuing working on his shooting he needs to work on his dribbling skills as well.
Agree that he's already a better shooter than Iggy, though he doesn't see the floor like him. I was thinking better shooting Tony Allen?
I've lost so much respect for you. If Tony Allen was a better shooter I would STILL take Kawhi.
Kawhi is going to make a category on his own. In my eyes, he does have superstar potential (I think that's what Spursforever69 was getting at) but I think his exceptional defense separates him from the rest. All these superstars have the skill and body to become great defensive players but will always be remembered for their offense.
But watch Kawhi become the most balanced superstar you've ever seen right before your eyes. This guy is our franchise.
With his wingspan & athleticism, Kawhi has the potential to be one of the top wings in the league. He also strikes me as a very smart player, too. If he could learn to smile for the camera occasionally, that would be even better... :)
I have not seen an interview but I can soooo see him mumbling through the whole thing. Lol. I would say he will be a mix of Bowen with rodman and a hint of mullens. Not a bad mix