Kawhi Leonard keeps evolving for Spurs

Kawhi Leonard has matured faster than anyone could have expected in his two seasons with the Spurs.

That he started for Gregg Popovich as a rookie was enough to herald his supreme potential. He’s done nothing but improve since then, regularly adding wrinkles to his foundation of lockdown defense and efficient offense.

The young small forward took the latest step in his apparent march to stardom in the Spurs’ 4-2 victory over Golden State in the Western Conference semifinals. For the first time in his exceedingly bright, if short, career, he consistently and significantly impacted a playoff series.

Leonard was also excellent against the Lakers. But the Spurs were always going to win that series after injuries rendered the Lakers a shell of themselves. Against the Warriors, however, they would have been hard-pressed to advance without him.

Dominant might be a few degrees too strong to describe his performance. But if Leonard didn’t, he wasn’t far off as he chipped in with his usual array of hustle plays and timely buckets, pulled down rebounds at an elite rate for his position and rendered Klay Thompson virtually invisible.

– Reported by Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News (Blog)