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  #1  
Old 01-24-12, 10:22 AM
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What happened with Kawhi?

I did not see the 1st half, but noticed he was missing the entire 2nd, save for the very last defensive posession. Does anyone know what happened?
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Old 01-24-12, 10:31 AM
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Spurs’ Leonard takes time to watch

By Jeff McDonald

NEW ORLEANS — Spurs rookie Kawhi Leonard exited Monday’s 104-102 victory over the Hornets with 4:50 left in the first quarter. He did not return until it was time to defend New Orleans’ last-ditch possession with 1.4 seconds to play.

If Gregg Popovich benched his prized rookie in order to send a message, he wasn’t saying.

“Not necessarily,” Popovich said.

The Spurs opened the second half with Gary Neal in Leonard’s spot, and rotated Danny Green and James Anderson at the position throughout the night.

“I just wanted to give Gary a chance to start (the second half),” Popovich said, “See if we could generate some offense.”

Neal finished with 10 points, cracking double figures for the second consecutive game. For the second game in a row, he also made more than half his shots (4 of 7).

Before the game, Popovich compared and contrasted the 20-year-old Leonard with Bruce Bowen, the eight-time All-Defensive team honoree who in March will become the seventh Spurs player to have his number retired.

“Over time, we’ll find out if he has Bruce’s discipline and dedication to learn how to be great at that position,” Popovich said.

Leonard said he was unbothered by being limited to a season low 7 minutes, 11 seconds of court time.

“I guess they didn’t need me,” he said.

Irreplaceable Bruce: Tim Duncan was delighted to learn Bowen would have his No. 12 jersey retired to the AT&T Center rafters. Asked how irreplaceable the defensive-minded small forward was to Spurs championship runs in 2003, 2005 and 2007, Duncan chuckled.

“We’ve been trying to replace him ever since,” said Duncan, Bowen’s teammate for eight seasons. “It sounds pretty easy to do, but it’s not an easy job. He played the role perfectly for us.”

Los Spurs en español: For the first time in franchise history, the Spurs will provide a Spanish-language telecast of a handful of upcoming games.

A total of 12 games will be broadcast in Spanish beginning with Wednesday’s contest against Atlanta. The broadcasts will be produced by Fox Sports Networks and available on Time Warner Cable channel 50 in San Antonio.

Paul Castro, the Spurs’ Spanish-language radio broadcaster on KCOR, will handle the play-by-play calls.

Lessons From Pop: Hornets coach Monty Williams was in his third NBA season in 1996-97 when he played for a Spurs team that finished 20-62.

Now in the midst of a similar losing season in New Orleans, Williams finds himself leaning on lessons he learned from Popovich, who took over for Bob Hill 18 games into the 1996-97 campaign.

“The one thing was just watching how he stayed the course,” Williams said. “He had a plan in place. He developed his young guys. It was big for me, because it gave me a chance to play a lot of minutes.”

Williams averaged nine points a game that season. That following summer, the Spurs won the draft lottery, giving them the right to draft Duncan.


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Old 01-24-12, 10:45 AM
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Pop usually likes to keep his rookies on a tight leash – very tight. Whether Leonard crossed the line and ran out of leash, had a bad defensive lapse in a previous game that the coaches noticed, forgot to button his shirt, who knows. If you watch any pregame, midgame or postgame interviews, Pop will answer reporter’s questions but they are short and to the point, not usually detailed with any specifics. Pop answers only to management for his actions and that’s one of the reasons he’s often called CIA Pop.
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Old 01-24-12, 11:30 AM
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Thanks for the quick response...article and all!

Did anyone happen to watch the game and see if he did anything in particular right before he got benched? Took a bad shot, passed up a good shot, missed a defensive assignment, etc?

I'm really rooting for Kawhi. I miss Bruce Bowen. Hopefully he can come close.
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Old 01-24-12, 12:21 PM
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Pop probably stuck with what was working. No more, no less.
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Old 01-24-12, 12:34 PM
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kid is still a rookie. if he wasn't doing well, you might as well put an offensive player in if Leonard's defense is bleh. he's getting used to individual players. i hope he's taking notes on how to defend each guy man to man because not all players play the same. if he was watching what he was doing wrong, it's just a learning experience.
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Old 01-24-12, 04:08 PM
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The fact that he was in for the last defensive possession would seem to say that Pop trusts his ability to play D, especially since the game was close.
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Old 01-24-12, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelWi101 View Post
The fact that he was in for the last defensive possession would seem to say that Pop trusts his ability to play D, especially since the game was close.
And probably a reminder that he needs to be ready to go at any time, regardless of the previous 23+ minutes of basketball.
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Old 01-24-12, 10:37 PM
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Pop wanted offense. That's what he said after the game. It worked. Plus, with playing Splitter so much, you really need a lot of outside shooting to balance it.

And while Kawhi Leonard is a fantastic defender, he's not as good all-around as Danny Green yet.
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Old 01-24-12, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzly_bexar View Post
Pop wanted offense. That's what he said after the game. It worked. Plus, with playing Splitter so much, you really need a lot of outside shooting to balance it.

And while Kawhi Leonard is a fantastic defender, he's not as good all-around as Danny Green yet.
I hope you're kidding. I'd take Kawhi right now as a rookie over Green. I even like JA over Green but for some reason he can't hit a damn shot, but I'm certain that will change at some point. Regardless of that game Green had against I think Denver, I usually worry what he's gonna do. Bill Land and Elliot make him out to be some sort of savior or something.
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Old 01-24-12, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spurduncan21 View Post
I hope you're kidding. I'd take Kawhi right now as a rookie over Green. I even like JA over Green but for some reason he can't hit a damn shot, but I'm certain that will change at some point. Regardless of that game Green had against I think Denver, I usually worry what he's gonna do. Bill Land and Elliot make him out to be some sort of savior or something.
I'm not kidding. And neither is Pop, who is putting the ball in Danny Green's hands at the end of games.

Kawhi has a lot going for him, and he's far ahead of where Danny was as a rookie, but he is a rookie and he's not a playmaker by nature the way Danny is.
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Old 01-24-12, 11:31 PM
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Leonard has moments when the other team is on a fast break and he is able to catch up and possibly defend the shot, but doesn't..... I don't know if he doesn't think he can do it, Is afraid to get a silly foul, or if he's just lazy. I think he is an above average defender, but his intensity is average at best.

As for Green, he is running the offense A LOT in the half court and doesn't give up. He is intense, constantly working, and making smart plays and passing well. His shot will start to fall, so I'm not worried. Right now, I would give him more minutes than Leonard.
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Old 01-24-12, 11:38 PM
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I agree that Kawhi really doesn't seem to be focused and intense at times. I think it is just all this is happening too fast for him and he is trying to think too much.

We are expecting a lot from Kawhi.

He is a guy who would be a college junior this year, who has typically played in the post in college, is being asked to start at the 2 guard, defend the other team's best wing player, and all of a sudden grow an outside shot.

On the fly, without practices, and a blur of a training camp.

Keep in mind it took Gerald Wallace several years before he figured it out. The Kings dumped him in the expansion draft.

But at this stage, Danny Green has had far more experience not just in the NBA, but with the Spurs, and his strengths fit what we lack with Manu out, so he is getting major playing time.
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Old 01-25-12, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grizzly_bexar View Post

But at this stage, Danny Green has had far more experience not just in the NBA, but with the Spurs, and his strengths fit what we lack with Manu out, so he is getting major playing time.
The last line said it all for me. When Manu comes back, Greens minutes will go back down and Kawhi will be relegated primarily to small forward position. I think his main issue is having smaller, quicker guards beat him off the dribble. That is why Pop awarded him with a career low in minutes last game. As said earlier, he's on a learning curve and Danny Green is just in sophomore year in the NBA. I still prefer Kawhi and am sure his drop in PT will motivate him and only make him focus even more. Just wish it had that effect on JA
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