The Kawhi Leonard show officially kicked off in Las Vegas Sunday night when the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Atlanta Hawks 82-76, in the first contest of their five-game Summer League stint. Overcoming a slow start, Leonard finished the night with 23 points, 4 boards, and 3 dimes, displaying the overall skills that made him a standout Spur and NBA All-Rookie First Team selection last season. As San Antonio’s primary offensive option, Leonard unleashed an array of jumpers, drives, and a few crossovers for good measure, reinforcing the idea that there’s more to his game then just defense and the corner three.
Other Spurs from last season’s campaign that are joining Leonard in Vegas include the mercurial James Anderson, Longhorn Cory Joseph, the enigmatic Derrick Byers, and San Antonio’s own Eric Dawson. Other notable players include Spurs recent second-round pick Marcus Denmon and forward Ryan Richards who was drafted by the team back in 2010. After inking deals to bring back Tim Duncan, Boris Diaw, Danny Green, and Patty Mills, along with adding newcomer Nando De Colo, the Spurs roster for next season already looks pretty tight.
During the game, Coach Gregg Popovich joked that his roster was essentially set before quipping “If you’re Coach of the Year you shouldn’t lose four in a row,” referencing his team’s post-season exit at the hands of the Thunder in typical self-deprecating fashion. With Jacque Vaughn handling the squad’s coaching duties; Pop is free to focus on growing his summer beard while evaluating potential prospects. Next up for Kawhi and company is a Tuesday night matchup with the hated Lakers on NBA TV at 5:30 PM. For Spurs fans feenin’ for some off-season hoops, get your popcorn ready.