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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