Corporate Knowledge: Kawhi Leonard is not Bruce Bowen
- Bleacher Report lead blogger Holly MacKenzie was one of the first NBA bloggers to encounter Spurs rookie forward Kawhi Leonard and his enormous handsand wingspan in person.Since then she has had time to admire Leonard from afar:
“That’s another thing about Leonard, probably one of the things that the Spurs loved about him: He works hard. Really, really hard. He’s very much about going about his business, and his business is basketball. There are no outside distractions or secondary pulls on Leonard. He simply wants to continue to get better and help his team.
When you watch Leonard play, the thing that jumps at you is just how hard he works on every possession. Offense, defense, it doesn’t matter. While most players get an extra burst of energy when they’ve got the ball in their hands, Leonard has one gear and it’s always dialed, whether he’s chasing his opponent around the perimeter, sneaking in to grab an offensive rebound or is handling the ball, ready to make something happen.”
- In his rookie rankings, Grantland’s Sebastian Pruiti asks that we hold off on the Bruce Bowen-Kawhi Leonard comparisons for now:
“In his rookie season, however, Leonard has played like the exact opposite of Bowen. Instead of standing in the corner and knocking down 3s like Bowen did, Leonard moves well without the ball and gets to the front of the rim. More than half of his shot attempts come around the rim. And unlike Bowen, who was one of the best perimeter defenders of the past 20 years, Leonard has struggled on defense.”
- The comparisons for now are a tad overrated. In my opinion Danny Green has shown more glimpses of Bowen’s unique skill set, especially in his ability to fight over screens and stay attached to a ball handler’s hip without fouling.For the time being Leonard has his moments, but he also struggles between being a lockdown positional defender and a chaotic gambling one. Still, he makes plays. And with the work ethic MacKenzie mentions in the first bullet point, I have my money on him figuring it out sooner rather than later.
- Brendan Jackson of Celtics Hub with an important key to last night’s game:
“Doc Rivers made a critical mistake taking Brandon Bass out in favor to Kevin Garnett with under three to go. I don’t mind a tired Garnett coming back in the game but he should have replaced Allen. The Spurs had Duncan and Bonner in the game and Garnett and Bass could have easily held their own on defense. I know Allen made a crucial three pointer, but the Spurs snagged four offensive rebounds in the last three minutes. I’m pretty sure preventing those were worth more than three points.”
- Leave it to Matt Bonner to hit a game-clinching shot during a game everyone would rather forget.