San Antonio Spurs: What is going on with Kawhi Leonard?
The past twenty years has been a fun ride for fans of the San Antonio Spurs. With San Antonio, you can always count on the team to show up when it matters. Basketball is always the number one priority. Team ball is the identity the Spurs have created behind the genius of Greg Popovich. No other team in the league could be down their best player, throw in constant injuries to key reserves, and tell me who would still be third in the brutal West? Nonetheless, that raises a question, what is going on with Kawhi Leonard?
Leonard is coming off his best season as a pro. Averaging 25 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.8 steals a game. He was an MVP candidate. The backbone of what makes the Spurs so good. Having a selfless leader in a generation of selfish basketball players is so crucial to their success. Kawhi’s great season came crashing down when ZaZa Pachulia decided to slip his foot under a falling Kawhi jump shot. Kawhi crumpled to the floor and had to be carried to the locker room. A really tough scene to watch as a basketball and Spurs fan.
Fast forward 8 months and we are smack dab in the middle of a drama-filled season where the absence of Kawhi Leonard has created so many storylines for the San Antonio Spurs. The aspect of Kawhi, Spurs fans were drawn to are his similarities to Tim Duncan. Both guys are gym rats who just love the game. Neither would complain about playing time, contracts, or teammates.
For the first time in over twenty years, there are some concerning storylines coming out of San Antonio. I don’t usually put much weight on what sports show hosts like Stephen A. Smith or Jalen Rose have to say. However, in this case, they have my attention. Both guys are very connected to the NBA rumor mill and both have called big moves in the NBA. Stephen A. Smith called the Lebron move to Miami and then back to Cleveland. Rose called the Kevin Durant departure to Golden State as well. Now both guys have tried to make predictions they have just flat-out never happened. As a die-hard fan of the San Antonio Spurs, this makes me so nervous. Jalen Rose is also close to Kawhi’s college coach and some think he has the inside track to what Kawhi will do next.
Two weeks ago, coach Pop came out and said the story was a ”none issue” and personally I will trust Pop. He is the mastermind behind all the championship runs these Spurs have been a part of. Pops best attribute in the locker room is being able to manage all the diverse personalities.
As of a few days, ago local sports reporters saw Kawhi in the Spurs facilities practicing. Danny Green also told reporters ”Kawhi told me he will be back.” The Spurs currently sit in the third spot and will most likely stay there. If the San Antonio Spurs can get their star back on the court and give him around a month to get his legs right and up to speed. I can’t imagine a scarier team to be matched up with come April. Imagine a fully healthy Spurs team playing its best basketball in April. Especially with no team in the NBA getting a real good look at this team healthy.
With only a month or so left I believe the Spurs are in good shape to be the surprise team of the playoffs. With LaMarcus Aldridge playing the best basketball of his career on both sides of the ball. Spurs fans are salivating at the idea that, Kawhi Leonard will be back and healthy with a supporting cast that’s been pulling their own weight all season. I like the chances at a deep playoff run
Take a deep breath if you’re a San Antonio Spurs fan or even just a fan of Kawhi Leonard. It seems like the rumors are starting to die down with the news of his potential March return. I can’t imagine a better basketball situation for Kawhi. Sticking with San Antonio and a hall of fame coach who wants to help win rings and extend your playing career sounds like a safe strategy. No other team can offer that and as a Spurs fan that’s comforting.