Before Tip-Off: Leonard to start vs. Rockets


As the San Antonio Spurs (6-4) prepare to face the Houston Rockets (3-6) at 7:30 PM CST at the AT&T Center, the team has made a new addition both roster wise, and in the starting lineup.

KLRookie Kawhi Leonard will get his first NBA start for the Spurs 11 games into the season as they face the Rockets.

“We’re going to throw him in the fire and let him go out and guard Martin or somebody like that,” said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich before the game.

“He’s excited about the opportunity,” said Popovich, “and he wants to show that he can guard people.”

Popovich also revealed that backup point guard T.J. Ford will be out 4-6 weeks because of the injury Ford sustained Tuesday against Milwaukee. According to the team, the injury is a longitudinal tear on his left hamstring.

With Ford out, rookie Cory Joseph has been recalled by the team from the Austin Toros. Joseph will be in action against the Rockets.

Newest addition Malcolm Thomas will also be in uniform against the Rockets though Popovich isn’t too familiar with him. “You have to call his college coach,” is what Popovich responded when asked what he knew about Thomas.

Thomas was out on the floor working with Spurs assistant coaches Don Newman and former Spur Sean Marks before the game. As I watched, Newman was running some drills on offense in the post with Thomas. It’s unknown if he’ll see action tonight, but the coaches are using the little time they have to get Thomas up to speed.

Joseph was also out on the floor working on some dribble-and-shoot drills before the game.

  • Rockets guard Kevin Martin was listed as probable for tonight’s game with flu-like symptoms. It looks like he will play as he was getting his legs taped up in the Rockets’ locker room.