Spurs GM R.C. Buford concedes he’s not sure anyone in the organization thought Kawhi Leonard would blossom as much as he has during his NBA career, a development that shooting coach Chad Engelland and player development coach Chad Forcier have aided, as Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News details. It’s a testament to Leonard, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, and to the Spurs, as Leonard’s agent Brian Elfus admits.
“At the end of the day, the draft is about where you end up, what kind of situation you’re in,” Elfus said. “I’ve got a strange suspicion — no, I know for a fact — if Kawhi had ended up in a different place, he wouldn’t be nearly the player he is today. I think everybody counts their blessings every day he ended up in San Antonio.”
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- Raptors signee Cory Joseph, a Toronto native, wasn’t eager to leave the Spurs, but he knew that with the arrival of LaMarcus Aldridge and a new max deal coming to Leonard, the team wouldn’t have much left over for him, as he tells TNT’s David Aldridge, who writes in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com. “It’s always hard, leaving somewhere that you’re comfortable in,” Joseph said. “You’re comfortable with the system, comfortable in the city, comfortable with the people there. So it’s always tough. It obviously made it a lot more easier ’cause I was coming home. I knew it was a good situation for me basketball wise as well. That’s how it goes business-wise. I couldn’t complain. They were getting a great basketball player in LaMarcus.”
- Aldridge hasn’t found his hot spots on the floor thus far with the Spurs, but Gregg Popovich believes that’s not necessarily a product of the uniqueness of San Antonio’s system, relays Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. “No matter what system he’s in, there’s going to be a learning curve,” Popovich said. “It doesn’t matter who he’s playing for this year. If it’s not Portland, he’s going to have to learn the system.”
- David West has been efficient in his fairly limited playing time as a reserve for the Spurs, but it’s the maturity, professionalism and leadership that the minimum-salary signee has brought to the locker room that’s really stood out to Popovich, observes Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News.