The future of the San Antonio Spurs looks bright, even with the core group of the big three closer to retirement than ever. Kawhi Leonard, recently signing a max deal and adding more pressure and focus to him, expects big things out of himself.
The former San Diego State player has come a long way. His defensive abilities and three point shooting earned him a starting spot as a rookie, and he kept building on that, eventually becoming one of the best small forwards in the NBA, doing it underneath people’s noses, slightly out of sight, hiding behind bigger names and on a team that doesn’t get attention until the playoffs.
Leonard won the Finals MVP in 2014. A glorious team effort had to put someone with the award in his hand, and Leonard, for his defense on LeBron James and his efficiency on offense, was it. Carrying that momentum into the 2014-2015 looked inevitable, but an injury hurt his numbers and overall performances, although when he was healthy, there were few better in the league on the defensive end, making the Spurs better at every moment.
Winning just rubs off on you, once you see Manu, Tony and Tim wanting to win every game. I want to be an all-star and MVP of the regular season. I’m trying to be one of the greatest players so whatever level that consists of is where I want to take my game.
And now Leonard is the best or second best player on the Spurs next to LaMarcus Aldridge. He’s no longer a cog in the machine, but almost a star player, who wants to start making headlines, in a good way. All-Star game (which he still doesn’t have) and maybe someday in the future, winning an MVP, although right now, with numbers being a huge part of the award, it’s difficult seeing him coming close to it while playing for the Spurs.