Expectations are growing for reigning NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard. San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich wants the 23-year old stud to be even more consistent this season.
Leonard is up for the challenge, but says he needs more time on the floor to show and prove. Kawhi played about 29 minutes a game during the 2013-’14 regular season, but wisely acknowledges that he has no idea what Pop has in store (minutes-wise) for him.
Per the Express-News:
“I’m probably going to talk to him more about consistency now,” Popovich said. “He’s reached a certain level and if you look at those last three games he played they were pretty special. But to be in that top echelon of players in our league it’s a huge responsibility to have to come and do that every night. The Duncans, the Durants, the James-es and all those kinds of guys do it night after night after night and it’s a huge responsibility.
“It takes a certain kind of character and that’s what I want to see him do now, defensively and offensively: To bring it every night. In his case it’s very special because he can bring it at both ends of the court. Some guys are basically offense and a couple other guys are defense but he has an effect on the game at both ends of the court so it’s going to be about consistency more than trying to teach him a new move and say, ‘Start doing this because Larry (Bird) did it,’ or something like that.”
“In the Finals I’m playing 35 minutes a game, so I’m on the floor more and able to score the ball more and get more rebounds,” Leonard said. “So I’m going to have to get consistent minutes to play at a consistent level like that. I’ve been trying to (be a dominant player) since I’ve been here. […] It’s just in order to get me more involved in the offense, that’s what I go by. Like I said, if I’m going to get seven more minutes on the floor, that’s going to be important. We’ll see what happens. I mean, my role was supposed to expand last year and we played pretty much the same basketball. So we’ll see what Coach Pop has.”