One of the most highly touted prospects here training at Joe Abunassar's Impact Basketball, Kawhi Leonard was amongst the most impressive players we had the opportunity to see on a number of levels. Working on his shooting mechanics, ball handling, and overall perimeter skills, Leonard also impressed with his physical tools and stoic demeanor.
Leonard's workouts are geared towards his development as a full-time wing player. He sees himself as a long-term shooting guard/small forward with the ability to defend multiple positions, and seems to have a very good understanding of what he needs to work on. Since the day he arrived in Las Vegas, Leonard has been looking to add polish to his perimeter arsenal, especially his jump shot. We saw some promising strides in his skill level as we watched him go through extensive shoot-arounds, participate in two skill development sessions under the tutelage of Chauncey Billups, and play a few games of three-on-three.
One of the more positive signs we saw from Leonard came in the simple shooting sessions he went through on both days we watched him. Spotting up and knocking down shots from the midrange and beyond the NBA 3-point line, Leonard's shooting mechanics look significantly more consistent than they did during his days at San Diego State. His release point looked the same on almost every shot he attempted, and his footwork appeared to get better as he got more shots up.
In the skill development sessions, we got to see Leonard, along with Alec Burks and Malcolm Lee, work on a number of different spin dribble, step-back, and aggressive scoring moves. With Chauncey Billups taking time to teach each player the nuances of each of the things they were working on, Leonard looked exceptionally crisp putting the ball on the floor. Unlike Lee and Burks, Leonard has quite a bit of power to his gameósomething that should ease the transition he needs to make from the NCAA to the NBA.
Leonard was able to showcase that more easily than his jump shot in three-on-three competition. The rules of the game limited each team to one shot and out, meaning there were no second chance opportunities from offensive rebounds. Under those restrictions, each team was trying to get high-percentage shots on every possession.
Over the course of the games we watched, Leonard looked comfortable handling the ball in traffic and finding teammates moving without the ball. With his biggest strength, rebounding, removed from the equation here, he still made his presence felt on offense with a few midrange shots and finishes around the bucket, but did most of his damage defensively. As you'll see in our workout video, he was extremely aggressive when defending the perimeter and made some impressive plays rotating back to his man on the pick and roll. Leonard did nothing to dispel sentiments that he's one of the top defenders in this class.
Amongst all the prospects we saw here, Leonard may be the biggest beneficiary of Impact's on-court training. He's a ridiculous physical specimen with no body fat, long arms, and giant hands, but has room to improve skill-wise. He's been able to take advantage of his time here to the fullest since he loves being in the gym. With his defensive ability and workman-like interior game, Leonard's ability to showcase what he's been working on at Impact at the combine and in private workouts is worth keeping an eye on as he looks to climb up draft boards.
From DraftExpress.com http://www.draftexpress.com/article/...#ixzz1MSyzkJAz