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How Kawhi Leonard has evolved into the NBA’s most complete player

The evolution of San Antonio Spurs star Kawhi Leonard since he entered the NBA has been nothing short of incredible.

The small forward has improved aspects of his game in each of the five years he's been in the league. Under the tutelage of the great Gregg Popovich, we have seen Leonard become the complete player in basketball.

He doesn't do things in a flashy manner, but he is effective in multiple ways every single night he steps onto the court


DEFENCE

As the reigning two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Kawhi's ability on that end of the floor is unquestionable and has been a skill of his since day one. 

The man nicknamed 'The Claw' due to his large hands is a relentless defender and has regularly got the better of the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Durant when guarding them.

He is often tasked with guarding the best player on the opposite team and his ability to guard multiple positions has been a huge benefit for Pop and the Spurs over the years. 

OFFENCE

The 25-year-old's biggest and most astonishing improvement has definitely been his offensive skill. He has increased his points-per-game average in each of his five seasons and it has taken a significant jump again this year. 

San Antonio Spurs v Cleveland Cavaliers

In this campaign, Leonard has elevated his offensive game to such a high level that he has almost single-handedly won games for San Antonio at times.

The three highest-scoring games of his career all came in the last 18 days – 41 points against the Cleveland Cavaliers, 38 against the Phoenix Suns and 36 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

He is averaging 25.6 PPG, which is significantly up from his 21.2 PPG of last season. The two-time All-Star has become so devastating on the offensive end that he can almost score at will and in a variety of ways that makes it difficult for defences to stop him. 

Leonard can create his own shot off the dribble, drive into the lane for layups and dunks, post-up and connect on mid-range and three-point shots with impressive accuracy. This was all on display in the fourth quarter on Tuesday night as he took over down the stretch against OKC.


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