How Should Popovich Handle Kawhi Leonard This Season?

By Brad Washington

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich reestablished himself as one of pro sports premier coaches in the 2014 NBA season.

By not allowing his starters to gain more than 30 minutes on the floor at a time and a heavy emphasis on teamwork and ball movement, the San Antonio Spurs put on the best display of championship effort pro sports has seen in years.

In the midst of it all, past the glamor of future HOFer’s Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker, the emerging playmaking ability of Kawhi Leonard in the NBA Finals has many NBA fans guessing what kind of role the young star will this season.

What makes the 23-year-old stars’ performance more gratifying is that Leonard did it against Lebron James without a single play called for him.

Since Duncan is 39, Ginobili 37 and Parker is 32, it appears ideal for Leonard to get more touches. But should he continue to be a free-wheeling player who takes the breakdowns of the offense, or should he get more plays called?

It may seem logical to start drawing plays up for the emerging star, but it’s possible it could take away from what made him a commodity in the NBA Finals.

On one side, it would seem ideal to further progress the Kawhi Leonard’s talent by running the offense through him.

Similar to how Tony Parker usually only scores at a peak of 16-20 points a game, Leonard could be a far greater asset due to the rapid growth of his basketball game and because at age 23, he already has a an inside, outside and midrange game more consistent than when Tony Parker relied on his tear drop game at the age of 23.

With that being said, due to Pop’s high-octane teamwork system, Kawhi Leonard’s all-around game will continue to evolve due to focus on him especially with many good players on the team such as Tim Duncan, Manu, Danny Green and Patty Mills.

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The other side’s case is principally focused on how it could affect his game, in which he could be a possibly lose the allure that made him a commodity in the NBA Finals; no longer a free spirit, he’s now restricted to set plays and predictability. With his eye injury forcing him to the sideline for the rest of the preseason, it will be a few more weeks until the Kawhi Leonard experiment takes shape.

What kind of role do you expect to see Kawhi Leonard in with the San Antonio Spurs during this upcoming season? Let us know in the comments!

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