San Antonio Spurs sign forward Kawhi Leonard

July 16, 2015

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have re-signed forward Kawhi Leonard, ensuring that the team's young star will be paired with free agent acquisition LaMarcus Aldridge for the next few seasons.

Leonard, who led the league in steals last season, was named the 2015 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He joins Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players to win both a Defensive Player of the Year award and a Finals MVP.

In his four year NBA career, Leonard has twice been named to the league’s All-Defensive Team (First Team in 2014-15 and Second Team in 2013-14). Additionally, he was named to the NBA’s All-Rookie First Team in 2011-12.

But what has made Leonard even more exciting is the growth in his offensive game, as last season he often took over as the team's go-to player in crunch time.  Leonard not only improved his face-up game and outside shooting, but also made great strides in developing his low post game as well.

Last season Leonard posted multiple career-highs, averaging 16.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.31 steals and 31.8 minutes in 64 games, while shooting .479 (394-822) from the field, .349 (67-192) from downtown and .802 (202-252) from the foul line. He scored in double-figures 55 times, including a career-best 21 games with 20-or-more points.

Leonard was one of just two players in the NBA to average at least 16.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.00 steals (Russell Westbrook).

For his career, Leonard has appeared in 252 contests, averaging 12.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.76 steals in 29.0 minutes.

In the postseason, the California native has appeared in 65 games, averaging 13.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.55 steals in 32.9 minutes. He won 41 playoff games in 58 appearances before his 23rd birthday, which ranks second all-time behind Kobe Bryant (42 wins). After averaging 17.8 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.60 steals in five games, Leonard was named the 2014 NBA Finals MVP after a 4-1 series win over Miami, becoming the third-youngest player to ever win the award.

The 15th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Leonard was obtained by the Spurs in a draft-night deal with the Indiana Pacers. He played collegiately at San Diego State University from 2009-11.

By Staff of and news services

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