The Atlanta Hawks came into San Antonio last week with the third best record in the Eastern conference. They left San Antonio with a 22-point second half beat down as the Hawks’ best scorer, Joe Johnson, was held to 10 points on 5-of-12 shooting.
One of the main reason’s Johnson had a tough night against the Spurs? Well, emerging rookie Kawhi Leonard, whose sole purpose is to defend the opposing team’s best perimeter scorer.
After last week’s Hawks’ loss to the Spurs, I caught up with Atlanta’s head coach Larry Drew and asked him what he thought of the Spurs’ rookie after watching him play in person Wednesday.
“I like him. I like his size. I like his length. He looks very good, this is my first time seeing him face-to-face play,” said Drew, “He seems to be a pretty solid defensive player and I think he’s going to be a good pro.”
I also caught up with Hawks forward Marvin Williams, who scored eight points against the Spurs, and said he remembered Leonard from last year at San Diego State.
“You know it’s funny man, the first time I’ve ever seen him was last year in the tournament,” said Williams, “When he was playing, his team was really good. He was a huge part of that team. I was really impressed with the things he was able to do. I thought he was able to carry his team.”
I also spoke with coach Drew and got his response on the Spurs’ successful play without injured guard Manu Ginobili.
“That kind of remains to be seen, their key guys will step up because that’s what I’ve seen of the Spurs,” said Coach Drew, “Parker has gotten a bit more aggressive on the offensive end, and Tim is Tim. At the end of the day, you know he’s going to do his share of work. They look like they got guys just pulling their weight and then you’ve got the bench guys coming in to help out.”