Truth & Rumors > NBA

The next 'Face of the Spurs'

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08:12 AM ET 08.31 | During a recent online Q&A mailbag, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich was asked about Kawhi Leonard, a 21-year-old out of San Deigo State who played 64 games this past season, and how the player fit in with the Spurs future. [Said Popovich:] "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 one year of college and no training camp yet, you can see that he's going to be something else."

NBA.com

Gregg Popovich, Getty Images Gregg Popovich, Getty Images
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August 31, 2012  09:16 AM ET

Kawai Leonard is the best kept secret in the NBA. Just 20 years old last year, he became the starter at 3 for the second half of the season. He shot the 3 pointer surprisingly well, can drive and score, rebounded, defended and as Pop said, all this w/o a training camp.

Not sure what Pop means by being "the face of the Spurs", but Leonard played fantastic I can see why they traded George Hill to Indiana to pick him up. Look forward to see what he will do this year and the following years.

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August 31, 2012  09:29 AM ET
QUOTE(#6):

Leonard will be a solid player, but no star,. Quit drinking, Pop.

A star but no superstar. Keep sipping, Pop.

August 31, 2012  09:30 AM ET

If Pop says it, I believe it..........he's certainly an evaluator of talent and who are we to question it......plus of what I saw of this kid last season, he's damn good!

August 31, 2012  09:32 AM ET
QUOTE(#5):

You obviously haven't watched this kid with Corey Joseph kill summer league this year... Leonard showed a lot of offensive skills during summer league.. you can tell he's been working on his game all offseason... I know it's only summer league but don't be surprised if he makes a significant leap in stats this upcoming season..

Yep, he did very well in a short stint in summer camp this year. Looking forward to see how much he has improved over the off-season.

August 31, 2012  09:32 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

If he's going to be the face of the spurs, they will not go very farGood all around player, but I haven't seen anything where he's going to be a big time, go-to scorer(Actually....if I had to really translate what pops is saying...pop might be pumping him up so he can trade him)

Right...He said the same thing about George Hill before last season...How did that work out?

August 31, 2012  09:57 AM ET
QUOTE(#10):

Right...He said the same thing about George Hill before last season...How did that work out?

Yeah, Hill did get traded. And he signed a 5 year/ $40mil deal with the Pacers. Again, not sure what it means about being the face of the team, but Leonard has played fantastic and should make a ton of money in a few years.

August 31, 2012  10:00 AM ET

The new Spurs (post Duncan); Hope fans aren't expecting another Dynasty anytime soon.

August 31, 2012  10:03 AM ET

It's San 'Diego' State, Bros!

August 31, 2012  10:05 AM ET
QUOTE(#13):

It's San 'Diego' State, Bros!

lol. Good catch, Bro.

August 31, 2012  10:11 AM ET

The next face of the SPURS?


SD?


CELL?

August 31, 2012  10:12 AM ET

If this kid turns into the next TD and continues to make the Spurs the exception to the 'small market' rule. I'll never doubt anything SD says, ever again.

Big shoes to fill. Good luck Spurs.

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August 31, 2012  10:13 AM ET

I think Leonard is an above-average defender, but not aggressive enough offensively. he can hit the 3-ball, but haven't seen him work at the paint or drive to the hoop enough.

But this should be his year to prove everyone that he can play at the highest level.

August 31, 2012  10:20 AM ET
QUOTE(#17):

Except when he's talking about the Lakers?

I won't doubt it. I'll just know he's wrong!

 
August 31, 2012  10:39 AM ET

Leonard will be an All-Star and make All Defensive team a few times, that's pretty good. imho

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