- Created on Saturday, 11 August 2012 17:09
- Last Updated on Thursday, 16 May 2013 07:51
- Written by David Rountree
The San Antonio Spurs seem to be going into next season with the same roster that loss in the Conference Finals to the Oklahoma City Thunder, so what do they expect to be the difference next year?
Coach Popovich and his staff seem to be putting faith on the improvement of their younger players. Kawhi Leonard is by far the Spurs best up and coming player and the Spurs need him to be more of a scorer.
The NBA’s small forward position has become critical for championship contenders and the Spurs can’t afford to keep their most athletic player hidden in the corner on offense.
But does Leonard even have the skills to handle a larger role? What things does he need to improve on for this upcoming season?
- Leonard needs to put the ball on the floor and move away from the three point line. He needs to drive the ball and learn to finish in the lane. Leonard is playing with two of the best guards in the league when it comes to finishing in traffic, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker. He needs to learn from them because athletically he is superior to both—so he should be able to catch on quickly.
- This requires confidence in one’s ability and a variety of skills to be successful. Leonard no doubt has the talent but to thrive he needs to improve his mid-range scoring options. Parker has the floater and Ginobili has the step-back jumper, so Leonard should choose the one that best fits his style.
- The option of a quick pull-up jumper in the lane would really open up things for his game and the Spurs in general; they are in desperate need of a player who can create his own offense.
- This is the best way for a scorer to pick up some points for his team. This improved skill would partner up nicely with Leonard’s increased drives to the basket. He shot 77 percent in his rookie season (not bad) but needs to try to get that average over 80. He can increase it by simply increasing his attempts—he should look to get to the line around a half a dozen times a game.
Leonard is very reminiscent to Bruce Bowen on the defensive side of the ball, but the Spurs team needs him to be a more offensively minded player. His athleticism and youth is an asset the Spurs have to capitalize on next season.