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View Full Version : The Island of Kawhi Leonard (Article from SI)



kdspurman
03-16-2016, 12:27 PM
Great read on Kawhi here.

I'll post a few quotes, but if you've got a few minutes, it's definitely worth the read:


A lot has changed for Leonard since that conversation with Pop—he was named Finals MVP in 2014, captured Defensive Player of the Year in '15 and this season seized the unofficial title of best two-way player in the NBA—but a lot hasn't. Leonard spends his summers in a two-bedroom apartment in San Diego, where he hangs a mini hoop over one door so he can play 21 against Castleberry. He carries a basketball in his backpack even when he isn't going to the gym. He often drives a rehabbed '97 Chevy Tahoe, nicknamed Gas Guzzler, which he drove across Southern California's Inland Empire as a teenager. "It runs," Leonard explains, "and it's paid off."

He is the only star still rocking cornrows, an outdated tribute to Carmelo Anthony, and he shrugs when friends claim he'd expand his endorsement portfolio if he shaved the braids. He is happy to sponsor Wingstop, which sends him coupons for free wings, so he can feed his Mango Habanero addiction. This winter, after his $94 million contract kicked in, he panicked when he lost his coupons. Wingstop generously replenished his supply



Two hours before tip-off at AmericanAirlines Arena, and the Heat have overhauled their game plan. Normally small forward Luol Deng is a vital member of the Miami offense, and coaches deploy a package of plays to free him for shots. But with the Spurs in town and Leonard expected to open on Deng, the Heat decide to shelve most of those plays. To avoid Leonard, they plan on featuring Dwyane Wade in the first quarter, knowing full well that Popovich will eventually switch Leonard onto Wade and force another adjustment. No defender in the league, Miami coaches acknowledge, prompts anywhere near as many machinations as Leonard. "You go at him," one coach says, "you're asking for trouble."


The Spurs notice how his marks react to him. They wince when he checks in. They hot-potato the ball. They never post him up and rarely iso. "More than his length, his strength, his quickness, that mother------ is so ... locked ... in," says Clippers guard J.J. Redick. "I have no idea what scouting report they give him, but he knows every play, and he takes no breaks. I'm still going to run my stuff. I'm going to be aggressive. I'm going to work for my shot. But I have to recognize he's probably not going to make any mistakes, and I may only get a shot or two in a quarter. I have to be O.K. with that. I have to be O.K. knowing there will be more space for somebody else."


It really just shows the kind of guy Kawhi is. Just really a rare breed in terms of superstars today. (Love the JJ quote lol)

Plenty more here-

http://www.si.com/nba/2016/03/15/kawhi-leonard-spurs-tim-duncan-gregg-popovich-tony-parker-manu-ginobili

Hawkeye15
03-16-2016, 12:38 PM
regarding the JJ quote, I remember last week the Spurs were at the Wolves, and Leonard fell down chasing LaVine, and I remember thinking, "so that is the way you beat that mother ****er" haha.

He was so pissed when a corner 3 was hit.

Hawkeye15
03-16-2016, 12:49 PM
just read the entire article. I grew up HATING the Spurs. Pops and Leonard are making it tougher for me to do so...

mudvayne387
03-16-2016, 12:49 PM
Neat article.

Bit off topic but I had to go back and look and see how Leonard ended up on the Spurs and holy ****, 2011 was one hell of a draft class.

Irving
Leonard
Thomas
Butler

Walker
Thompson
Valanciunas
Knight
Morris Bros
Vucevic
Harris
Jackson
Faried
Mirotic
Parsons

Hawkeye15
03-16-2016, 12:50 PM
Neat article.

Bit off topic but I had to go back and look and see how Leonard ended up on the Spurs and holy ****, 2011 was one hell of a draft class.

Irving
Leonard
Thomas
Butler

Walker
Thompson
Valanciunas
Knight
Morris Bros
Vucevic
Harris
Jackson
Faried
Mirotic
Parsons

**** me. The only thing I know if that the Wolves had 4 picks in the first round, and Kahn had to basically sell them all off to pay for his hiring/firing of Rambis.

God that dude almost ran out team into oblivion.

Tony_Starks
03-16-2016, 12:54 PM
Kawhi is a good dude. Had a pretty rough life, I used to go to the same shop as some of his fam.

A truly great story, my only wish is that he would enjoy it more.

It's one thing to be stoic but sometimes he comes across as damn near depressed.

KnicksorBust
03-16-2016, 01:28 PM
Great read. Will share with my team next season.

ewing
03-16-2016, 01:40 PM
Pop and TD have created Cult in SA. Kawhi is like their new Tom Cruise. The cult will live on.

tredigs
03-16-2016, 01:53 PM
Pop and TD have created Cult in SA. Kawhi is like their new Tom Cruise. The cult will live on.

More like Shwartzenegger circa his Terminator days.

HouRealCoach
03-16-2016, 02:39 PM
My favorite player! He is top 5

Tony_Starks
03-16-2016, 03:42 PM
Last night during the game the Clipper announcer said he wouldn't give up Kawhi for Lebron straight up.

At first I'm like ehhh...but after thinking about it, I wouldn't either.

Kawhi's all around game is pretty great right now.....

Hawkeye15
03-16-2016, 03:48 PM
Last night during the game the Clipper announcer said he wouldn't give up Kawhi for Lebron straight up.

At first I'm like ehhh...but after thinking about it, I wouldn't either.

Kawhi's all around game is pretty great right now.....

I would have to think about that, and it depends on the situation. For a single playoff run this year, I would take LeBron probably. But for a season, and especially if we are asking who do you want over the next 5 years, duh, it's a no brainer.

Tony_Starks
03-16-2016, 04:08 PM
I would have to think about that, and it depends on the situation. For a single playoff run this year, I would take LeBron probably. But for a season, and especially if we are asking who do you want over the next 5 years, duh, it's a no brainer.


I'm not even so sure about for a series either. Lebron has started to slack on D and his range has got more suspect in the post season. He can still dominate a series but you're giving up a lot.

As opposed to Kawhi who is now shooting almost 50% clip from three and doesn't take a single possession off on D.

Hawkeye15
03-16-2016, 04:36 PM
I'm not even so sure about for a series either. Lebron has started to slack on D and his range has got more suspect in the post season. He can still dominate a series but you're giving up a lot.

As opposed to Kawhi who is now shooting almost 50% clip from three and doesn't take a single possession off on D.

all situational. Until we see Kawhi able to handle a ridiculous amount of usage and be able to distribute like LeBron, it's tough. Again, situational.

I won't argue too much though, I would for sure put him in the top tier of players now with Curry, LeBron, Durant, etc.

mngopher35
03-16-2016, 04:55 PM
On the Spurs no way you make that trade even for this year. They are pretty close as players so it likely comes down to fit in most situations at this point. Kawhi is amazing as a player and someone who just seems like a good guy as well (this article seems to say similar). Like Hawk not exactly a Spurs fan but just can't hate those guys.

ewing
03-16-2016, 06:17 PM
all situational. Until we see Kawhi able to handle a ridiculous amount of usage and be able to distribute like LeBron, it's tough. Again, situational.

I won't argue too much though, I would for sure put him in the top tier of players now with Curry, LeBron, Durant, etc.

one of those two has an ego that fits in the room too.

kdspurman
03-16-2016, 08:47 PM
Last night during the game the Clipper announcer said he wouldn't give up Kawhi for Lebron straight up.

At first I'm like ehhh...but after thinking about it, I wouldn't either.

Kawhi's all around game is pretty great right now.....

I wouldn't either,and wouldn't think 2x about it... There's personality and chemistry to consider, (basketball abilities aside) and Kawhi is doing things now that Lebron isn't/can't. He is a rare talent in today's league.

phantasyyy
03-16-2016, 08:52 PM
Crazy to think he is only 24, turning 25 in June also.. Plenty of time to take over the reins of the offensive(if he hasn't already done so) and unleash the so-called alpha-male repertoire the article refers to in the MJ's, Kobe's etc. etc.

I hope SAS wins this year and Duncan/Ginobli returns, so the show never stops!!! Exciting and weird to see what the team make-up will be post the big 3. Aldridge-Kawhi-Green-Mills-Anderson-Simmons + another star?!?

Scoots
03-17-2016, 12:12 AM
I may get slammed for this, but Kawhi is never going to be a superstar, and I think he's perfectly fine with that. There could have been no better teammate for him than Tim Duncan. Easily one of the best players in NBA history and the least "superstar" of the bunch ... and he's there every day that you can be a respected truly great NBA player and not be a media darling or a media whore.

nastynice
03-17-2016, 12:57 AM
Kawhi and Spurs are just a match made in heaven for each other. Crazy to see how much he's been elevating his game

nastynice
03-17-2016, 01:01 AM
I may get slammed for this, but Kawhi is never going to be a superstar, and I think he's perfectly fine with that. There could have been no better teammate for him than Tim Duncan. Easily one of the best players in NBA history and the least "superstar" of the bunch ... and he's there every day that you can be a respected truly great NBA player and not be a media darling or a media whore.

Depends on what u mean by superstar. If talking in a strictly basketball sense, or on the court sense, then I disagree, he's already knocking on that door and would be surprised not to see him become a certified superstar. If u mean in the sense of all the headlines and media coverage, then yea, maybe not. It's odd, but he's having a monster season, along with the whole squad, but the Warriors/curry media machine has just completely overshadowed all that

Tony_Starks
03-17-2016, 09:17 AM
Depends on what u mean by superstar. If talking in a strictly basketball sense, or on the court sense, then I disagree, he's already knocking on that door and would be surprised not to see him become a certified superstar. If u mean in the sense of all the headlines and media coverage, then yea, maybe not. It's odd, but he's having a monster season, along with the whole squad, but the Warriors/curry media machine has just completely overshadowed all that


I agree. He won't be a superstar in the sense of being a big media splash, big endorsements, jersey sales, etc.... But as far as superstar game? If he's not there already he's right at the door.

Keep in mind he's doing all this within the confines of a system. Put him on a team tailor made to him where it's all green light? Numbers would be crazy..

Stinkyoutsider
03-17-2016, 10:28 AM
I like how grounded Kawhi is. Money doesn't phase him. He just wants to play ball...

cmellofan15
03-17-2016, 11:01 AM
I may get slammed for this, but Kawhi is never going to be a superstar, and I think he's perfectly fine with that. There could have been no better teammate for him than Tim Duncan. Easily one of the best players in NBA history and the least "superstar" of the bunch ... and he's there every day that you can be a respected truly great NBA player and not be a media darling or a media whore.

well he certainly doesn't play the celebrity role of superstar, but on the court he is a top 5 player in this league and right now should be second in the mvp race. the body of work that he has put together over the past three or so seasons is undeniable, but you're right, he might not be a superstar in the traditional sense of the word.

Hawkeye15
03-17-2016, 11:36 AM
one of those two has an ego that fits in the room too.

so do a lot of all timers. Point?

Hawkeye15
03-17-2016, 11:38 AM
I agree. He won't be a superstar in the sense of being a big media splash, big endorsements, jersey sales, etc.... But as far as superstar game? If he's not there already he's right at the door.

Keep in mind he's doing all this within the confines of a system. Put him on a team tailor made to him where it's all green light? Numbers would be crazy..

that's where I am not sure if you are right. We haven't seen him need to be the team for any length of time. Super high usage, team on his back type stuff, only reserved for the true superstars.

And that is a good thing for him, and his team. I just don't know what he looks like if he wakes up tomorrow and he is wearing a Suns jersey for instance. With all the defensive attention. With all the effort needed to use on offense.

But, that is why theories are fun...

Tony_Starks
03-17-2016, 12:58 PM
that's where I am not sure if you are right. We haven't seen him need to be the team for any length of time. Super high usage, team on his back type stuff, only reserved for the true superstars.

And that is a good thing for him, and his team. I just don't know what he looks like if he wakes up tomorrow and he is wearing a Suns jersey for instance. With all the defensive attention. With all the effort needed to use on offense.

But, that is why theories are fun...


I would speculate in that situation he'd put up MVP worthy numbers, but his team would be mediocre.

He's great enough to still get his if the defense was focused on him, but he's not really a playmaker.

Hawkeye15
03-17-2016, 01:31 PM
I would speculate in that situation he'd put up MVP worthy numbers, but his team would be mediocre.

He's great enough to still get his if the defense was focused on him, but he's not really a playmaker.

Yeah, that is kind of where I align. I don't think he has the handles or vision to be a Bron type facilitator, nor the mid range killer game to be a Kobe type. But maybe I am wrong, who knows? The Spurs don't NEED him to take over games routinely.

sheesh
03-19-2016, 04:56 PM
all situational. Until we see Kawhi able to handle a ridiculous amount of usage and be able to distribute like LeBron, it's tough. Again, situational.

I won't argue too much though, I would for sure put him in the top tier of players now with Curry, LeBron, Durant, etc.

Why would Kawhi have to have a high usage rate though? What's the point of that? Hero ball only works for Jordan.

ewing
03-19-2016, 05:17 PM
so do a lot of all timers. Point?

If LeBron James was on the Spurs how many times would he have thought about leaving or forced mgt to make moves instead of staying the course. His ego matters and it has hurts him.

IamAlwaysRight
03-20-2016, 05:17 PM
I've got Kawhi or Draymond as the MVP's this season.