On the court, Kawhi Leonard is the prosciutto to Tim Duncan’s cantaloupe. Leonard slashes and dashes while Duncan plainly, simply, effectively drop-stepped his way to visually mundane greatness for 19 years. Now that Duncan Doughnuts has retired, however, Gregg Popovich’s Hunger Games Spurs are looking to the Claw for guidance. Lucky for them, Leonard and Duncan leadership styles seem to mimic each other in that neither one has to say anything at all to have an effect.
While they have the utmost faith in their quiet, yet very gifted small forward, San Antonio is sure to miss their dorky Wake Forest-bred big man and his normal-people Old Navy ways. Though again, Kawhi’s transition to leader should be an intriguing 2016-17 NBA Season development.
The shifty forward has clearly taken legendary strides during his career, showing a constant drive for perfection and improving his craft. An athlete defender with raw potential from San Diego State, Kawhi has turned himself into an all-around threat. In 2014, Leonard became the youngest player to win the NBA Finals MVP since Magic Johnson. He then went on to secure two straight NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards (while averaging 21.2 points, knocking down 44.3 percent from 3-point range, and finishing second in MVP voting for the 2015-16 season). As he enters Year 6 and his Spurs search for a sixth championship, the sky remains the limit for “Kawhi You Always Lyin.”
Especially with heady free-agent signee Pau Gasol filling in the starting spot left by Duncan, there is little doubt this team will keep carrying the winning baton deep into the postseason. Now here’s six minutes of Leonard playing lockdown defense like a hot wind blowing around his opponents’ heads..