When Kawhi Leonard returns to the San Antonio Spurs, how will the rotation change?
In Game 1 of the 2017 Western Conference finals, the San Antonio Spurs lost Kawhi Leonard deep into the game against the Golden State Warriors, due to an ankle injury. The Spurs led by double-digits, but without Leonard, they blew the lead and ended up getting swept, 4-0. Golden State went on to win the NBA Finals.
The Spurs star had the summer to rest his ankle, but a new injury arose, as he did something to his quadriceps. The severity wasn’t made official, nor a specific timetable for his return. So, he missed the entire preseason.
After those five games, Leonard’s status remained in question. He didn’t play in the regular season opener against the Minnesota Timberwolves, a trend that continued for the next three games. The organization continued to rule him out, still not providing an update on when he could return.
Meanwhile, the Spurs won their first four games and, as of Oct. 26, they stand at 4-0 without Leonard. It’s a turnaround from last spring’s playoffs but none of these wins were against the Warriors, either.
Recently, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich gave MySanAntonio.com some clarity on when the 2016-17 MVP candidate could be back. He didn’t rule out early November, although it wasn’t a convincing answer that the team will definitely get Leonard back then.
Whenever Leonard gets back, changes are abounding for the Spurs. That goes for the lineup, roles and potentially someone leaving the rotation.
Some players became a bigger part of the team to start the season. Of course, that will change with Leonard back and 30-35 minutes per game taken up. How will this be impacted, along with other aspects of the team? Let’s take a look.