Kawhi Leonard

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Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard San Diego State Dunk (cropped).jpg
Leonard with San Diego State in 2009
No. 2 – San Antonio Spurs
Position Small forward
League NBA
Personal information
Born (1991-06-29) June 29, 1991 (age 24)
Los Angeles, California
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight 230 lb (104 kg)
Career information
High school Canyon Springs
(Moreno Valley, California)
Martin Luther King
(Riverside, California)
College San Diego State (20092011)
NBA draft 2011 / Round: 1 / Pick: 15th overall
Selected by the Indiana Pacers
Pro career 2011–present
Career history
2011–present San Antonio Spurs
Career highlights and awards
Stats at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Kawhi Anthony Leonard (/kəˈw/, born June 29, 1991) is an American professional basketball player who currently plays for the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association (NBA). The small forward played college basketball at San Diego State University (SDSU). He was selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers. Leonard won an NBA championship with the Spurs in 2014 and was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP). He was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2015, becoming the first perimeter defender to win the award since Ron Artest in 2004.

High school career[edit]

Leonard attended Canyon Springs High School before transferring to King High School his junior year. In Leonard's senior year, he and Tony Snell led the King High Wolves to a 30–3 record. Leonard averaged 22.6 points, 13.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.0 blocks per game that year and won California Mr. Basketball.[1]

Considered a four-star recruit by Rivals.com, Leonard was listed as the No. 8 small forward and the No. 48 player in the nation in 2009.[2]

College career[edit]

Freshman season (2009–2010)[edit]

As a freshman at San Diego State, Leonard averaged 12.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game.[3] Leonard helped lead the Aztecs to a 25–9 record and the Mountain West Conference (MWC) tournament title. SDSU received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament[4] but lost to Tennessee 62–59 in the first round as Leonard recorded 12 points and 10 rebounds.[5] Leonard led the MWC in rebounding and was named MWC freshman of the year, first team All-MWC, and the 2010 MWC Tournament MVP.[6]

Sophomore season (2010–2011)[edit]

In Leonard's sophomore season, he averaged 15.7 points and 10.4 rebounds[7] as the Aztecs finished with a 34–3 record and won back-to-back conference tournament championships.[8] Leonard and San Diego State would once again make the NCAA tournament.[9] This time, SDSU would advance to the Sweet 16 where they lost to eventual national champion UConn.[10] Leonard was named to the Second Team All-America and would forgo his final two seasons at San Diego State to enter the 2011 NBA draft.

College statistics[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2009–10 San Diego State 34 33 31.3 .455 .205 .726 9.9 1.9 1.4 .7 12.7
2010–11 San Diego State 36 36 32.6 .444 .291 .759 10.6 2.5 1.4 .7 15.5
Career 70 69 31.9 .449 .250 .744 10.2 2.2 1.4 .7 14.1

College awards and honors[edit]

Professional career[edit]

2011–12 season: Rookie year[edit]

Leonard was selected with the 15th overall pick in the 2011 NBA draft by the Indiana Pacers but was traded that night to the San Antonio Spurs along with the rights to Erazem Lorbek and Davis Bertans in exchange for George Hill.[11] On December 10, 2011, following the conclusion of the NBA lockout, he signed a multi-year deal with the Spurs.[12]

Leonard and teammate Tiago Splitter were selected to play in the 2012 Rising Stars Challenge as members of Team Chuck. Although he suited for the event, he did not play due to a calf strain.[13] After starter Richard Jefferson was traded to the Golden State Warriors for Stephen Jackson, Leonard was promoted to the starting small forward position while Jackson served as his backup.

At season's end, Leonard placed fourth in Rookie of the Year voting[14] and was named to the 2012 All-Rookie first team.[15]

“I think he’s going to be a star. And as time goes on, he’ll be the face of the Spurs, I think. At both ends of the court, he is really a special player. And what makes me be so confident about him is that he wants it so badly. He wants to be a good player, I mean a great player. He comes early, he stays late, and he’s coachable, he’s just like a sponge. When you consider he’s only had (two years) of college and no training camp yet, you can see that he’s going to be something else.”

—Coach Gregg Popovich on Kawhi Leonard[16]

In the summer of 2012, Leonard was among several NBA up-and-comers chosen to play for the 2012 USA men's basketball Select Team. They trained with the Olympic team which featured Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and others.[17]

2012–13 season: First Finals appearance[edit]

On October 26, 2012, the Spurs exercised the team option on Leonard, re-signing him through the 2013–14 season.[18]

Leonard was selected to play for the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge where he was once again drafted to Team Chuck.[19] He recorded 20 points and 7 rebounds as Team Chuck defeated Team Shaq for the second straight year 163–135.[20]

The San Antonio Spurs advanced to the NBA Finals where they faced the Miami Heat. Leonard averaged 14.6 points and 11.1 rebounds during the Finals as the Spurs lost the series in seven games.

2013–14 season: First championship and Finals MVP[edit]

On April 6, 2014, Leonard tied a then career-high 26 points in a 112–92 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.[21] He finished the season averaging 12.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals while shooting 52.2% from the field. Leonard helped the Spurs to a 62–20 record – the number one seed in the NBA – and was named to the NBA All-Defensive second team for the first time.[22]

The Spurs and the Miami Heat met once again in the NBA Finals. On June 10, 2014, in Game 3 of the series, Leonard scored a career-high 29 points in a 111–92 victory.[23] San Antonio went on to win the series 4–1. Leonard averaged 17.8 points on 61% shooting and was named NBA Finals MVP.[24][25] He was the third-youngest player to win the award (22 years and 351 days),[26] behind only Magic Johnson—who won in both 1980 (20 years and 278 days) and 1982 (22 years and 298 days).[27][28] Leonard was also only the sixth player, and the first since Chauncey Billups in 2004, to win Finals MVP in a season in which they were not an All-Star.[25]

2014–15 season: Defensive Player of the Year[edit]

After missing the final six preseason games and the season opener against Dallas due to an infection in his right eye caused by conjunctivitis, Leonard made his season debut against Phoenix on October 31 despite still suffering from blurry vision.[29] He continued to play through the blurred vision and on November 10, 2014, he scored a season-high 26 points in the Spurs' 89-85 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.[30] Following a three-game stint on the sidelines between December 17 and December 20, Leonard had an injection in his injured right hand on December 22 and was ruled out indefinitely.[31] He returned to action on January 16, 2015 after missing 15 games, recording 20 points, 4 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals to lead the Spurs to a 110-96 win over the Portland Trail Blazers.[32]

On April 5, Leonard recorded 26 points and a career-high 7 steals in a 107-92 win over the Golden State Warriors.[33] On April 23, Leonard won the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, joining Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to win both NBA Defensive Player of the Year and NBA Finals MVP.[34] The next day, he scored a career-high 32 points in a Game 3 first-round playoff series victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.[35] The Spurs went on to lose the first round of the playoffs in seven games.

2015–16 season[edit]

On July 16, 2015, Leonard re-signed with the Spurs.[36]

NBA career statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
Denotes season in which Leonard won an NBA championship
Led the league

Regular season[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2011–12 San Antonio 64 39 24.0 .493 .376 .773 5.1 1.1 1.3 .4 7.9
2012–13 San Antonio 58 57 31.2 .494 .374 .825 6.0 1.6 1.7 .6 11.9
2013–14 San Antonio 66 65 29.1 .522 .379 .802 6.2 2.0 1.7 .8 12.8
2014–15 San Antonio 64 64 31.8 .479 .349 .802 7.2 2.5 2.3 .8 16.5
Career 252 225 29.0 .496 .368 .802 6.1 1.8 1.8 .6 12.3

Playoffs[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2012 San Antonio 14 14 27.1 .500 .450 .813 5.9 .6 1.2 .4 8.6
2013 San Antonio 21 21 36.9 .545 .390 .633 9.0 1.0 1.8 .5 13.5
2014 San Antonio 23 23 32.0 .510 .419 .736 6.7 1.7 1.7 .6 14.3
2015 San Antonio 7 7 35.7 .477 .423 .771 7.4 2.6 1.1 .6 20.3
Career 65 65 32.9 .515 .417 .721 7.4 1.3 1.6 .5 13.5

Personal[edit]

On January 18, 2008, Leonard's father, Mark, was shot and killed at the Compton car wash he owned.[37] The murderer has still not been identified.[38][39][40]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Leung, Diamond (April 15, 2011). "SDSU loses Kawhi Leonard and his recruiter". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  2. ^ Kawhi Leonard – Yahoo! Sports
  3. ^ [1] ESPN.go.com
  4. ^ GoAztecs.com
  5. ^ [2] GoAztecs.com
  6. ^ Player Bio GoAztecs.com
  7. ^ "Kawhi Leonard Stats". ESPN. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  8. ^ Zeigler, Mark (March 12, 2011). "Aztecs beat BYU to win MWC Tournament". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on June 20, 2014. 
  9. ^ Goodman, Jeff (Mar 7, 2011). "Goodman's 2010–11 All-America teams". Fox Sports (Fox Sports Interactive Media). Retrieved June 21, 2011. 
  10. ^ Greg Beacham (March 25, 2011). "Kemba Walker leads UConn past San Diego State". Associated Press. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  11. ^ "NBA Draft trades: Pacers deal Leonard to San Antonio for George Hill". SportingNews.com. June 23, 2011. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Spurs Sign Kawhi Leonard". NBA.com. December 10, 2011. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  13. ^ "All-Star notebook: Calf strain keeps Leonard out of Rising Stars game". MySanAntonio.com. February 24, 2012. Retrieved February 24, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving named Kia Rookie of the Year". NBA.com. May 15, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2012. 
  15. ^ "San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard Named to NBA's All-Rookie First Team". NBA.com. May 22, 2012. Retrieved May 22, 2012. 
  16. ^ Deveney, Sean (September 2, 2012). "Gregg Popovich: Kawhi Leonard will "be the face of the Spurs"". SportingNews.com. Retrieved September 2, 2012. 
  17. ^ "Kawhi Leonard and DeJuan Blair Chosen to 2012 USA Men's Select Team". NBA.com. May 21, 2012. Retrieved May 21, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Spurs Exercise Team Options on Cory Joseph and Kawhi Leonard". NBA.com. October 26, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2012. 
  19. ^ "Kawhi Leonard Selected by Team Chuck for BBVA Rising Stars Challenge". NBA.com. February 7, 2013. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  20. ^ "Team Shaq at Team Chuck". NBA.com. February 15, 2013. Retrieved February 15, 2013. 
  21. ^ Notebook: Spurs 112, Grizzlies 92
  22. ^ Kawhi Leonard Named to 2013–14 NBA All-Defensive Second Team
  23. ^ Notebook: Spurs 111, Heat 92
  24. ^ Price, Tom (June 16, 2014). "Notebook: Spurs 104, Heat 87". NBA.com. Archived from the original on June 16, 2014. 
  25. ^ a b "Kawhi Leonard named Finals MVP". ESPN.com. Associated Press. June 16, 2014. Archived from the original on June 16, 2014. 
  26. ^ "MVP Leonard does it all". ESPN.com. June 16, 2014. Archived from the original on June 16, 2014. 
  27. ^ Scott, Nate (June 16, 2014). "Kawhi Leonard is third youngest NBA Finals MVP ever". USA Today. Archived from the original on June 16, 2014. 
  28. ^ Martin, Brian (June 16, 2014). "Game 5 By The Numbers". NBA.com. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. 
  29. ^ "Kawhi Leonard available for Spurs". ESPN.com. October 30, 2014. Retrieved November 28, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Leonard scores 26, Spurs rally past Clippers 89-85". NBA.com. November 10, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Kawhi Leonard gets hand injection". ESPN.com. December 22, 2014. Retrieved December 23, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Leonard has 20 in return, powers Spurs past Blazers". NBA.com. January 16, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2015. 
  33. ^ Leonard has 26, Spurs snap Warriors 12-game streak, 107-92
  34. ^ "Kawhi Leonard wins NBA Defensive Player of the Year". suntimes.com. April 23, 2015. Retrieved April 23, 2015. 
  35. ^ Leonard leads Spurs to 100-73 win over Clippers and 2-1 lead
  36. ^ "Spurs Re-Sign Kawhi Leonard". NBA.com. July 16, 2015. Retrieved July 16, 2015. 
  37. ^ Eric Sondheimer (March 8, 2008). "Shooting death of his father drives Riverside King's Leonard". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 21, 2011. 
  38. ^ Father's memory helps drive Aztecs star Fox Sports, January 20, 2011
  39. ^ Kawhi Leonard: Basketball, Family, Honor CraveOnline.com, March 11, 2011
  40. ^ DimeMag.com, June 13, 2014

External links[edit]