2011 Draft Prospect Profile - Kawhi Leonard
|Kawhi Leonard spent two seasons playing for the San Diego State Aztecs, helping lead the team reach the Sweet Sixteen before losing to the eventual champions. Leonard is entering the draft early after completing his sophomore season. He averaged 15.5 ppg and 10.6 rpg, along with 1.4 steals per game which helped him earn nods for second-team All-America from multiple outlets, as well as first-team All-Mountain West, Mountain West All-Tournament and defensive team honors.|
What they're saying:
Draft Express: A great deal of Leonard’s success, and much of the attention he’s receiving from the next level, can be attributed to his impressive physical profile and high energy level. Standing 6’7 with a huge wingspan and adequate physical strength for a wing, Leonard is not the most fluid player around, but there’s an effortlessness with which he moves in the open floor that is impressive to say the least.
ESPN: Leonard is one of the most unique players in the country. He can play both the three and the four thanks to long arms, excellent athleticism and a great motor. He's a terrific rebounder as well. He doesn't have a polished offensive game yet, but there's a lot of potential there. He could be a Shawn Marion-type player. A likely lottery pick.
NBADraft.net: A hybrid forward with terrific length … He has a high motor and plays the game with a lot of energy … Spends majority of the time on the perimeter, but occasionally shows the ability to play with his back to the basket … Uses an effective turnaround jumper inside when posting up … An agile athlete, his strides are extremely long and he covers a lot of space when running the floor … Shows improvement in majority of areas from freshman to sophomore seasons … His shooting has improved and he has become a respectable threat from the outside … Operating out of the triple threat, he combines a nice jab with a fairly quick and long first step to create separation … He has a strong preference going to his pull-up jumper, and once he gets into a rhythm he can string a number makes together (his length and high release make it a difficult shot to contest) … He is fairly comfortable handling the ball in the open court and is capable of pushing it out off the rebound when the situation calls for it … Even with the improvements to his offensive game, he still continues to contribute heavily in the rebounding department … His huge hangs, length, energy and great timing, allow him to snatch balls on both ends that are well outside of his rebounding area … An extremely quick jumper, he is very good at tipping the ball and keeping it alive on the rim … Has the instincts and shows potential in becoming a very solid defender … His ability to get out in the passing lanes and also contest shots inside make him a very dangerous weapon on the defensive end …
MyNBADraft: Leonard has shown great potential to become a solid NBA perimeter player. He is only a sophomore and is still quite raw. His ability to rebound for his size is what sticks out the most in his game. At 6'7 he would be a 2 or 3 in the NBA, and the ability to grab ten rebounds a game is a great attribute to have. His ability to attack the boards on both ends allows him to get a lot of second chance points on the offensive glass. Coaches will love his ability to quickly get the ball in transition with his ability to grab rebounds and start fast breaks himself. He is also a solid ball handler in transition that can make plays for himself and his running mates. He's a strong finisher in the open floor as well. He possesses a good mid-range jump shot, but is inconsistent from the perimeter. He does show nice form on the jumper, so with extra work in the gym, he should be able to improve from the perimeter before he gets to the league. Defensively, he shows great promise at being an elite stopper. He uses his length and athleticism very well to create turnovers and quickly turns them into points in transition. One concern I do have is that Kawhi sometimes seems to disappear on the offensive end. He needs to make himself more assertive by demanding the ball from his teammates. I would compare his game to someone like Trevor Ariza.
NBA Draft Depot: Kawhi Leonard is one of college basketball's more intriguing players. A late bloomer, Leonard was lightly recruited before committing early to San Diego State. He went on to become The Los Angeles Times' Player of the Year as a high school senior. As a freshman, he finished in top 10 in eight of the Mountain West's statistical categories. Now a sophomore, Leonard has lead the Aztecs to a top 10 national ranking. As a player, he is somewhat unusual; he is a plus athlete who can play spot minutes at point forward, and he is also one of the nation's best rebounders. This leads some to ask which position he is best suited for: small forward or power forward. Regardless, he will be a contributor. He just needs to improve his jumper.