Although the Oklahoma City Thunder may have beat the San Antonio Spurs 112-106 in what served as the season-opener for both teams, the Spurs can find solace in the fact that Kawhi Leonard exploded for a huge night, as they hope this is a sign of things to come from 24-year-old.
Leonard dropped a career-high 32 points, eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks on the Thunder, all while hounding Kevin Durant to the best of his ability on the defensive end, which included a block on a KD jumper, something that’s atypical say the least.
It may have been Durant’s first game since last year’s injury tainted regular season campaign, but Leonard again put on a clinic on how to guard arguably the best player in the world. We’ve seen this before.
To me the growth Leonard’s undergone is a product of his hard work. Several years ago, coach Gregg Popovich was reluctant to initiate any offense through Leonard, but now he’s San Antonio’s engine on both sides of the floor. Debates regarding Leonard’s status as a top-ten player have raged on since the summer, and with performances like this they’ll only intensify. If he keeps this up for the entire season, the fact that he’s top-ten will be really hard to argue with.