by Andrew A. McNeill
With the news that Kawhi Leonard will likely be named to the Team USA mini-camp this summer, Matthew Tynan and I discuss how this affects Leonard and the Spurs.
That is a fantastic achievement for Leonard but I think he should use the offseason to get that tendonitis taken care of. Manu played through injuries for his national team and it nearly derailed his career.
I think he would definitely make the cut, his defense alone would warrant his selection. He is versatile enough to defend the mobile shooting bigs you see in international competition and creates turnovers like few players can. He is really coming into his own offensively, he is really getting good at driving to the hoop from the corner and creating his own shot as well as developing a nice post up game which can create a lot of mismatches if teams go small. He has taken up a lot of scoring slack in the games Manu has been struggling to make shots so I don’t think one can overlook his offense.
It would be nice if the additional coaching helps him expand his game the way playing for Coach K’s team has for the league’s superstars. Long-term, it’s doubtful that he pulls ahead of KD, Paul George, and the next-wave guys like Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins to make the A-squad when LBJ and Melo leave and some forward spots open up.
Great points pro and con. If his knee is not an issue or a professional diagnosis clears him, I think it great for Kawhi to participate. It would only help him improve.
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