1-on-1 with Blazers’ Kurt Thomas: On Spurs’ title chances, Duncan, Bowen-Leonard comparison


While the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Utah Jazz 106-91 on Sunday, the Spurs also continued theirKT winnings ways with their 11th straight victory when combining the end of the regular season and the playoffs.

One victory picked up during this 11-game win streak was a week ago, when the Spurs defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in San Antonio. After that game, I spoke to former Spur Kurt Thomas who was traded to the Spurs during the 2007-2008 season, played a whole season from 2008-2009, then was traded in the offseason for Richard Jefferson in the summer of 2009.

Thomas just finished his 16th NBA season with the Trail Blazers, and though it’s been a long career, Thomas was still engaged in the locker room after the game. In a Project Spurs exclusive one-on-one interview with Thomas, I asked him about his former team, their title chances, his former teammate Tim Duncan, and if it’s just a myth that rookie Kawhi Leonard could be the next Bruce Bowen.

Paul: What’s your take on this Spurs team this season?

Kurt: I think they’re playing exceptionally well, you’ve got to give credit to the core guys in that locker room and the coaching staff, they’re doing an outstanding job year after year. No matter who they plug in here, they stick with their system and they really share the ball well on the offensive end of the floor, and they’re definitely defensively sound the way they cover for each other out there.

What are your thoughts on the Spurs’ title chances this year?

They’ve got a great chance, you can’t take anything away from them, the way they’ve been playing, they’re definitely one of the favorites to come out of the west. Between them and Oklahoma City, I definitely have to put them at the one-two.

How has Tim Duncan continued to stay so dominant even at the age of 36?

He’s playing one of the best years of his career I think, you’ve got to give credit to the training staff and Pop, he makes sure that he’s not really warring down Tim’s legs, so he’s definitely ready to go in the most important time of the season, that’s the post season.

Do you see any comparisons between rookie Kawhi Leonard and your former teammate Bruce Bowen?

He’s definitely defensively sound. He really does a great job out there on the defensive end of the floor, and on the offensive end he’s very athletic the way he can get to the glass, easy lay-ups and dunks. He definitely can stretch the floor the way he can shoot the ball from the outside.

(Laughing) The only difference is basically he’s younger and more athletic than Bruce was.

Thomas may have had a point, the Spurs ended the season on a 10-game winning steak, they won game one by an impressive 15-points, Duncan was the second highest scorer with 17-points and 11 rebounds, and Leonard held Josh Howard scoreless to 0-of-4 shooting.