Coming off of a season where they eclipsed 67 wins, many may wonder what the Spurs will do for an encore. Kawhi Leonard guarantees this years team is better than last seasons.
Four weeks ago, I wrote on Leonard needing to step up and become the leader of the team. This is the year that he needs to make an impact like no other.
There are many areas that a player needs to establish in order to become one. For the San Antonio Spurs, they do have players that can be deemed a leader, maybe have those skills but there needs to be one ALPHA male that takes control.
That is Kawhi Leonard.
Leonard has proven that he has the skills on the floor to lead this team night in and night out. One key factor of becoming a leader is being vocal. We have seen him grow over the years and his play has everyone under hypnosis as he keeps getting better and better as time goes on.
Oct 3, 2016; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Phoenix Suns head coach Earl Watson shouts as San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) controls the ball at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
His answer, well, could be what Spurs fans were hoping to hear.
This season, I guarantee that…
My team will be better than the past year
Definitely a statement that is reachable for Leonard and the Spurs. To open up this season, Leonard dropped 35 points in a convincing 129-100 win on opening night against the Golden State Warriors.
Thursday night against the Sacramento Kings, Leonard willed his team to another victory. He paced the Spurs with 30 points and exceptional defense down the stretch.
They are off to a pretty good start to the 2016-17 season.
This season’s team may not win 67 games but they are primed to go deeper into the playoffs.
The main difference from this years team from a year ago, youth, and athleticism.
In addition to his guarantee on the season, he also touched on other things about this years team.
He was asked about what player in the league people need to look out for who is not a teammate-Leonard though could not think past his teammates.
Although, he didn’t name anyone in particular, one can speculate.
We can start by talking about Jonathon Simmons whom for one night had his name in lights as he completely wrecked the Warriors dropping 20 points in 28 minutes off the bench. And mind you, he did have the best block of the night that completely shook the NBA.
How about Dewayne Dedmon? Davis Bertans? Patty Mills? There are plenty of choices that can be made for Leonard.
Right now, it is all coming together for Leonard and the Spurs. They look hungrier at the start of this season than they did a year ago.
Once Popovich starts subbing in the second unit, it is not a slow down game, they have the athletecism to keep up with teams now. They proved this against the Warriors and the Kings outscoring both benches.
Pieces are in place for San Antonio. We will see if Leonard, as a leader, can bring make good on his guarantee.