and it's just not me that's taking notice. As a rookie he was selected to try out for the USA Oly team with the likes of LeBron, KD, Melo, etc. That has to tell you something. Although he didn't make the team most people were very impressed with him....... Daily Dime - ESPN
Spurs' Leonard Shifts To Star In Summer
By Danny Chau
Less than two months ago, Kawhi Leonard was a starter on a Western Conference finalist. His unique physical gifts and improving range from long distance made him the perfect soldier for the San Antonio Spurs, where the established hierarchy of stars meant filling the periphery with capable niche players. While Leonard may have just been a cog in the Spurs' immaculate machinery, flashes of his athletic ability showed something few Spurs role players have had in the past: the potential for a more dynamic role.
Leonard's efficient 27-point outing Tuesday in a 92-81 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers was his second impressive summer league performance in a row. His confidence was noticeable as he waltzed into the lane with crossovers and spins with a level of execution seldom seen last season. It has been a confidence that has steadily grown since becoming a key player on the Spurs and, more recently, since becoming a member of the 2012 USA Basketball men's select team, playing with and against some of the NBA's best and brightest last week in Las Vegas. For Leonard, summer league is the venue to show off the culmination of experiences he has had in the past year.
"I gained a lot of confidence since playing through that one season and going into the USA training camp [and I] just wanted to be aggressive and get better," Leonard said.
Leonard's starring role on San Antonio's summer team has led to new responsibilities. The Spurs' coaching staff has experimented with Leonard's role on their summer team. He is, at once, the team's primary shot creator and secondary facilitator, creating from the elbow for himself and operating in the occasional pick-and-roll. Many of his eight rebounds led to Leonard pushing the ball up the floor to create for himself and his teammates. While it wasn't evident last season, pushing the ball comes naturally to Leonard.
"That's what I did in college and high school," Leonard said. "Get the rebound and push it up court ... just showed more effort today, just not walking the ball up."
Leonard's assertiveness in San Antonio's two summer league games should come as no surprise. His strong rookie season and his time spent training with USA Basketball has given him a sense of where he stands against the best. Leonard has dutifully served as a role player in both cases, but if his development continues at the rate it's going, Leonard's role in the Spurs' periphery may quickly shift into the fore.
Danny Chau writes for Hardwood Paroxysm, part of the TrueHoop Network. Follow him on Twitter.