Kawhi Leonard has scored 30 or more points on six different occasions so far this season compared to just four 30-point games over the first five seasons of his career.
“By this point in his career, he’s a confident player,” Gregg Popovich said. “He knows he has a green light. We call his number now and then, but he does a lot of this stuff on his own, and he’s getting pretty good at pick-and-roll. So he just advances his game every year a little bit in some different fashion, and tonight he did the same thing: pulled up, knocked down a couple 3s. He just has confidence that they’re going to go. Special, special young man.”
“We’re gonna keep going to him, and he knows that, too,” Danny Green said. “I guess at the beginning of the game, he kinds of finds a rhythm or kind of finds out what kind of night it’s gonna be to adjust to what he needs to do, how the defense is playing. He’s done a good job of that, pacing himself, not forcing it, kind of getting others involved at the same time, kind of keeping the defense off balance, keeping them honest; not just looking to score every time, but facilitating as well.”
Despite the green light and big role within the San Antonio Spurs’ offense, Leonard is still navigating the freedom.
“I’m still trying to get my teammates involved more,” Leonard said. “Having a green light doesn’t mean you just shoot every possession. You just get the defense drawn to you, two guys, and pass it to the open man. I’m just learning through the double-teams, through people forcing me a certain way and help being there. Just still a process for me.”