Leonard fighting through rookie wall
San Antonio Spurs rookie Kawhi Leonard has helped in his team's success, with his defensive tenacity and toughness, and there is no doubt that he should be considered for rookie honors.
However, Leonard had been struggling on offense as of late.
After averaging 11.1 points for the month of March where is scored in double figures 11 times; the Spurs defensive-minded forward is only averaging 6.1 points this month.
It was enough to make him wonder: Is this the rookie wall I’ve heard so much about?
He reached double digits in scoring for the first time in 17 days in a blowout 105-91 victory over the Phoenix Suns and was relieved that his shooting stroke returned.
"I just made shots tonight," the 6-foot-7 forward from San Diego State said. "Really, that was all there was to it. I haven’t even been taking that many 3-pointers the last few games. Some games, I haven’t even taken an attempt. But the second one came, and I hit it, so things felt good."
Leonard has missed only one of 58 games and acknowledges the adjustment to the longest season he has played has taken its physical toll.
"I’ve been fatigued coming into a lot of games, but I'm learning from a great group of guys," he said. "They tell me just to keep pushing, play as hard as you can and work on your health, take care of your body and stay with the trainers, and you'll be fine.
"I feel fine now. I have plenty of energy, and I’m excited for the playoffs. I’m just trying to get better every game as the season comes down to these last few (games)."
Make no mistake, the Spurs still rely on their old hands Duncan, Ginobili and Parker often, but it is safe to say that Leonard is one of the reasons why the Spurs currently hold the second seed in the West.
San Antonio traded for Leonard because of his dedication to defense, and his ability to knock down shots has been a pleasant surprise.
If keeps on working hard on defense, and at the same time get back to being a solid contributor on the offense on a consistent basis, San Antonio will be a tough team to beat in the post season.