HoopsHype Kawhi Leonard rumors

June 15, 2013 Updates
June 13, 2013 Updates

Popovich said in August 2012 of Leonard, "He'll be the face of the Spurs I think." That seemed to change everything about his place in the celebrated franchise — to everyone but Leonard himself. "I'm just the same guy. ... I don't need to be a celebrity or a superstar," Leonard told USA TODAY Sports. "I'm just playing basketball. I just want to be a great player. That's it. That's all I'm thinking about. If the other stuff comes, it comes, but I'm just fortunate to play in the NBA Finals and just to play basketball, period." USA Today Sports

After practice Wednesday, Popovich — infamous for being a man of few words — was asked if Leonard's confidence has ever wavered in his time in San Antonio. "Kawhi has never spoken to me," Popovich joked, "so I don't really know what his level of confidence is. But watching him play, it seems he has no problem in that area. He just plays and goes home." USA Today Sports

“We’re doing a hell of job,’’ McGrady said after remembering he indeed now is a member of the Spurs. “We’ve got a guy (Kawhi Leonard) on him and when he drives, we got our big guys coming and just compacting the lane, keeping him off the free-throw line. When you’re not getting to the free-throw line and hitting free throws and you’re not getting layups, then the only thing left is for you to take jumpers. Then you’re not in a rhythm.’’ FOXSports Florida

June 12, 2013 Updates

But one thing is becoming pretty clear during these Finals: Leonard isn't going to be cast into a role like this for much longer. He's a big part of their present, but he's an even bigger part of their future. And you know what? He wants it. "That's why I play the game. I want to be great one day," Leonard said. "I work so hard just to get better. Hopefully the cards unfold right so I can be the face ... He stops a moment before finishing the thought, remembering his place and how good Spurs talk and finishes with a much more selfless thought, which he actually means just as earnestly, "No, I don't even think about it like that [being the face of the Spurs]. Just being better as a player myself." ESPN.com

An organization makes a bet on a player with a high ceiling like Leonard, he turns out to have the work ethic, attitude and ability to live up to it and eventually he busts out on a stage like this and the future becomes now. "Some guys are affected by the lights and some guys aren't," Popovich said of Leonard. "We haven't done anything to make him the way he is; he already is like that. He's quiet, he's humble, he wants to be a great player and he works before and after practice every day. "So what you're seeing out there [in the Finals] is just a part of his personality. He just comes to play." ESPN.com

June 7, 2013 Updates

In Game 1, James scored six points on 2-for-8 from the field when Leonard was guarding him. His average shot attempt was 16.4 feet away from the basket. Against all other Spurs, James had 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting, and his average attempt was 8.9 feet away from the basket. Forcing James to take difficult shots paid off in the form of a 92-88 Spurs victory. "I just try to stay in contact with him, making him take tough shots and making him score over me," Leonard said. "I just try to stay in front of him. There are some things that we still need to cut off. He had a lot of points at the basket. And it was just one game. He could come out here and have a better game than that (in Game 2)." USA Today Sports

Tim Duncan said Kawhi Leonard did an excellent job of staying in front of LeBron James. "You're not going to stop him, you just have to stay in front of him,'' Duncan said. "Make his life as tough as possible.'' Sulia

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The BBVA Rising Stars Challenge -- televised live nationally on TNT at 9 p.m. ET and broadcast live on ESPN Radio, with live audio also available on NBA.com in multiple languages -- features two teams each consisting of nine rookies and sophomores mixed together, drafted from a pool selected by the NBA's assistant coaches. Joining Irving from the Sophomore class are: Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets), Brandon Knight (Detroit Pistons), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs), Chandler Parsons (Houston Rockets), Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors), Tristan Thompson (Cleveland Cavaliers), Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic), and Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats). Davis and Lillard lead a group of rookies that includes Harrison Barnes (Warriors) Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards), Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Bobcats), Alexey Shved (Minnesota Timberwolves), Dion Waiters (Cavaliers), and Tyler Zeller (Cavaliers). Oregonian

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