One thing everyone can agree on after the Spurs season opener versus the Thunder last week is that Kawhi Leonard’s time is NOW and the future is bright for the former NBA Finals MVP. It was bound to happen but this new squad is showing us glimpses of a powerhouse team with Leonard assuming his inevitable role as the new frontman in town with LaMarcus Aldridge by his side. While this is a great sign for the Spurs, it also comes with some minor adjustments that can honestly take some time to really mesh together. That shouldn’t create panic for Spurs fans anywhere, but they shouldn’t be surprised either if the Spurs struggle a bit before really coming together as a contender.
My reasoning behind all this is that, not only did they acquire Aldridge and West in the offseason, they basically acquired a new team moving forward. A team that like any other is going to take some time to show its true colors come mid season. The Spurs are champions and odds are they will become heavy favorites to win it all by the time the postseason comes around, but before any of that can happen, they need to focus on the transition as soon as possible.
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Leonard is Coach Popovich’s go-to guy now and Spurs fans everywhere should rejoice. After a superb season opener that showed his tenacity on defense while creating his own shots and plays offensively, you saw the Claw racking up a career high with 32 points to go along with a strong rebounding effort with 8 rebounds and 3 steals. This is the Leonard Spurs fans need now more than ever and he’s ready to deliver that. He has the experience now and defensively, wow this guy’s unstoppable. Just look at key plays down the stretch that made Durant look human. He hustled, wouldn’t stop, and never gave up even when they were down 6 with seconds left.
Moving forward Leonard knows what his role is this season and is ready to take on the challenge. The big 3 honestly don’t have a lot of miles left in them and now more than ever have to rely on Leonard and Aldridge. Which in reality isn’t a bad thing since the Spurs future seems to be ready with them holding the reigns, but that will eventually take time and with that multiple games under their belt for them to really come full circle. Parker is still running point and Aldridge will continue to play his game exactly how he dominated in Portland, but Spurs main guy now is Leonard and he will have to guide them and lead them if they want to make it back to the NBA Finals. It’s not like he hasn’t been down that road before, but now it’s different. He has to become the leader San Antonio needs. More responsibility and more leadership. In the end, it’s safe to say Leonard will be well suited for that role with Aldridge and the big 3 as his supporting cast.