Guest post from FanDuel.com
With two regular seasons in the books, former San Diego State standout Kawhi Leonard seems to be right on the cusp of going one of two ways. He could either continue to build on the type of role he currently has with the San Antonio Spurs, or he could explode into a go-to star who can be a consistent #1 or #2 option for a contender. At just 21 years of age, what does the future hold for him?
Coming out of college, Leonard was somewhat of an unknown nationally. The Spurs, who have a knack for finding talent like Leonard, quickly showed they knew what they were doing. He made the rotation as a rookie, and took on an increased role in 2012-2013. This regular season, he started in all but one of his games played, and he averaged over 31 minutes per game.
What fantasy basketball players, and really, the NBA in general, are taking note of is that this season, the Spurs really showed their age. Yes, they appear to be getting healthy just in time for a playoff run, but how much longer can their core play at a high level. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili seem to be wearing down, which means that Tony Parker will need a new running mate to carry the offense.
At 21 years of age, Leonard appears to have all the tools to make him a special player. He can defend either wing position well, he shoots the ball well inside and outside and he can rebound. Right now, he fits the role perfectly of a nice, complimentary player for a championship contender. Can he be the man though?
It appears as though the Spurs are grooming him to take over a bigger role. He took more three this year, especially from the corners. He also showed more confidence in creatng off the dribble. This is something he was always able to do in an Aztecs uniform, but doing it at the NBA level can be difficult. His biggest adjustment will be creating his own shot on a consistent basis. He is getting a lot of his shots up to this point in the NBA off of penetration by Parker. If he becomes the #2 or even the #1 scoring option for the Spurs in a year or two, he needs to be more confident in creating his own shot.
Daily fantasy sports players already love Leonard for what he brings to the table, but his value could continue to rise as the older Spurs lose their edge. It seems very likely that in two years, the Spurs could consist of a Parker-Leonard combination to get things done on the offensive end.
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