The Lakers, the 2014 Draft, and the Kawhi Leonard Experience

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Jun 15, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) celebrates after being announced the NBA Finals MVP after game five of the 2014 NBA Finals against the Miami Heat at AT&T Center. The Spurs beat the Heat 104-87 to win the NBA Finals. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

In three short years, Kawhi Leonard transformed himself from an undersized power forward at San Diego State, to a premiere wing player for the San Antonio Spurs.  This is a mid-1st rounder pick that ended up winning the Most Valuable Player of the 2014 Finals.

How did that happen?

NBA scouts and executives frown on the word, ‘tweener, especially in the draft.  What is a ‘tweener’?  A ‘tweener’ is a player who is stuck between positions, usually relating to the front court.  Who wants an undersized power forward with center skills in the draft?  Who wants a small forward with power forward skills in the draft? No one does.  Guard-skills rule the league and there are only a few attributes to a person and a player that can overcome it.

Kawhi Leonard slipped in the draft, because he was seen as a ‘tweener, a small forward with power forward skills.

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Tags: Aaron Gordon Draft Kawhi Leonard Lakers Marcus Smart

  • thomas rickard

    Only time will tell, but can’t remember the first 10 looking so good, can’t imagine the Lakers trading their pick.

  • Jim213

    Good article but IMO Smart doesn’t have the mentality to be at the top of his position. That to me is a must plus don’t see him playing with the Lakers long term (if he was to be drafted). See it more as if he has the ability to handle the pressure like many of the top players but given last season’s play and actions on the floor this comes into question for myself IMO.

  • Daniel Bogarin

    Hope it’s Gordon, can defend the other teams best player no matter what position they play (possibly excluding the center position)… if he is able to knock down 70% of his free throws I can see him averaging 17 ppg, 6 rebounds, 5 assist, 2 steals, and 1 block per game………………………………………………………………..Also find a way to trade for Zach Lavine a project at the 2 guard but under the right guidance (kobe and nash) and under the right coach (hopefully scott) he can become a good starting shooting guard, once he raises some muscle and becomes better defensively I can see him starting once kobe is gone an avereging 18+ ppg, 4 dimes,3 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 block