Small Forward, 6’7″, 225 lbs.
Sophomore, San Diego State University
19 years old
Kawhi Leonard Highlights
10/11 Stats: 15.5 PPG (44.4% FG, 75.9% FT, 29.1% 3-PT), 10.6 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 2.1 TOPG
Strengths: You gotta like this kid’s motor. Never takes a play off, full of energy, constantly battling. What he lacks in height, he makes up for with a 7’3″ wingspan and massive hands. Rebounds extremely well for a player of his size. Can defend up to three positions, even spending some time on Jimmer Fredette when SDSU played BYU. Solid finisher around the basket. As a young player, Leonard has plenty of room for growth.
Weaknesses: Leonard’s question marks are primarily on the offensive end. He’s not a particularly strong player and struggles with his shot. His motor helps put him in good position to score around the basket, but his perimeter game is lacking, and as of now, his ball-handling needs more work.
How He’d Fit with the Kings: Leonard would start his Kings career in a reserve role, which would suit him well. He’d be a great energy guy to bring off our bench, providing defense and rebounding to the second unit. If we take him at #7, we’re banking on him surpassing Casspi, D.Greene and Garcia, which is certainly plausible. As his offense develops, he can move into the lineup. Outside of his lack of shooting, he’s a good fit next to Tyreke, Thornton and Cousins, cleaning up the scraps, attacking the rim and crashing the boards.
Approval: Ahhhh….I am perched right on the fence on Leonard, but my gut says no. The key is, can he develop his offensive game? In time, he may be able to, but is the rest of his game good enough? I’m skeptical. Tough call for the Kings. The Shawn Marion comparisons are interesting, but even Marion was an efficient offensive player at UNLV.
Where He Goes: Leonard is said to be on the Raptors radar at #5. The Wizards (#6) could also use a running mate for John Wall. It’s unlikely Leonard drops out of the top-10, as Detroit (#8) and Charlotte (#9) also need a small forward.