Burn!!!!! Hardly. Before we all jump down on Gregg Popovich for possibly taking a dig at former Spur Bruce Bowen, this is not what he intended or was trying to do when stating that Bowen could not pass nor dribble when he came to San Antonio. It was a work in progress.
There is no question how high Popovich is on Leonard. Through two seasons with San Antonio he is starting to show all the fans and San Antonio Spurs front office glimpses on what he could possibly become. Leonard as many fans and teammates know is the Spurs best defender and he will be given the task night in and night out to guard the opposing teams best player.
Case in point, NBA Finals, the biggest stage of them all, Leonard had the task of guarding LeBron James. Leonard stepped up to the challenge and I feel this is what turned many peoples eyes that he is going to be the defensive stopper for the team. Though the Miami Heat captured the title, Leonard's play leaped him into talks of becoming the teams future.
While the team was in Los Angeles to take on the Lakers, Gregg Popovich told ESPN Los Angeles' Dave McMenamin that he [Leonard] is much better than Bowen and that when Bowen got to San Antonio he could not dribble nor pass.
Here is what Popovich had to say about Leonard and Bowen:
"He’s a lot better than Bruce Bowen. Bruce Bowen couldn’t dribble and couldn’t pass. He shot 3s in the corner and he played good D, he played great D. So we want Kawhi to match Bruce’s great D first and foremost, but after that he’s a much better offensive player.”
You can read as far as you want in the quote that Popovich gave to McManim. What Bowen once was is what Leonard is turning into for the Spurs. The defense for Leonard is there, that is nothing to shy away from. Where he needs work on is his outside shot. He is remarkable in the open floor as he has shown through his first few seasons with the team. Once that jumpshot is developed, he will definitely be something lethal.
Bowen 2.0 project is underway folks. This truly is going to be something great to see. What are your thoughts on Gregg Popovich on Leonard?