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Let’s Not Forget About Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs

One of the most well-rounded players in the NBA, Leonard will take San Antonio into the depths of the NBA playoffs

By Quinn AllenPublished 6 years ago 3 min read
San Antonio Current

He’s already averaging 34.5 points per game through two games in the playoffs. Kawhi Leonard is the backbone of the San Antonio Spurs. In fact, Leonard has scored in double figures in 22 straight playoff contests. Talk about clutch.

Memphis has a solid trio of Zach Randolph, Mike Conley, and Marc Gasol, but the MVP candidate Leonard is just too much to handle for the Grizzlies. The thing that makes Leonard stand out among others in the NBA is his ability to impact the game at both ends of the court.

He only averaged 4.7 defensive rebounds per game in the regular season. He doesn’t record a ton of blocks. But he’s a solid defender who has great footwork and quickness. He’s a pest. He puts so much pressure on opposing players defensively that they either make a mistake and he steals the ball, or they miss a shot because they don’t have an open look. He’s the two-time Defensive Player of the Year for a reason. He’s an amazing athlete and has tremendous length, giving him the ability to block shots as well.

What I’ve seen change this year compared to past years with Leonard is his aggressiveness to the hoop. He’s creating contact and getting more free throw opportunities. And not to mention, he’s 28 for 28 from the line in the playoffs thus far. Even in the regular season, Leonard was an 88% free throw shooter. Through the first two games of the postseason, Leonard is shooting 71% from the field. He’s struggled from downtown, with only a 20% three point percentage, but you have to remember he is still averaging 35 a game as of right now — without many 3’s.

Leonard has unreal handles, which is evident in game 2 against the Grizzlies, where he was able to get to the rim quickly and effortlessly. Take a look at the video below to see Leonard’s tremendous performance in Monday’s game:

Why will Kawhi lead the Spurs to a solid playoff run?

He may not be the MVP. He’s not the most electric scorer in the NBA. But Leonard does everything in this game the right way. The Spurs built their team around Kawhi in the offseason. They told him to be more aggressive and take charge. He’s done just that. The former San Diego State standout has also become one of the best closers in the game. He’s shown the ability to hit the clutch shot late in the fourth, or simply just put a team away.

Assuming the Spurs get by the Grizzlies, they will face either the Rockets or Thunder in the next round. And you know what that means. Leonard will face off against fellow MVP candidates Russell Westbrook or James Harden. But that isn’t something to worry about. Kawhi has shown the ability to ball with the best of them. That testimonial was present back in the 2014 NBA Finals, when Leonard shut down LeBron and the Heat to win it all and capture the Finals MVP.

Who stands in Kawhi’s way?

If we had to look at teams who could possibly shut down the Spurs, it would be Cleveland or Golden State. But Kawhi has proven he can beat both of these teams. LeBron James or Steph Curry don’t impose a threat to Leonard. Sure, both the Warriors and Cavs could beat San Antonio. But all I’m saying is if it came down to the Spurs and one of those teams, it would be a tremendous series that would go six or seven games. With Lamarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker by his side, the Spurs have a very good shot of making a deep playoff run with Kawhi at the helm.

Humble, quiet, but absolutely lethal on the court. Kawhi Leonard is one of the most electric players in the NBA. It will be exciting to see Kawhi lead San Antonio for the next month in the 2017 NBA playoffs, and hopefully he can come out with another Finals MVP at the end of it.


About the Creator

Quinn Allen

Sports Journalist

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