Spurs Rookie Kawhi Leonard Quietly Making the Most out of Great Situation

Karthik TadisinaSenior Writer IApril 1, 2012

Kawhi Leonard.
Kawhi Leonard.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The San Antonio Spurs are gaining some momentum as the NBA season enters the final weeks.

The Spurs are looking to make a major run at a championship this year led by their three veterans (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker) along with others.

However, the Spurs have been able to get consistent contributions from rookie Kawhi Leonard as well as other role players making things a lot easier on the veteran players.

The San Antonio Spurs won their seventh straight game last night after defeating the Indiana Pacers at home. The Spurs have been able to make the most out of their roster changes (adding veterans Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and signing Patty Mills.

However, one player who has been having a great rookie season for the Spurs is none other than Kawhi Leonard. Leonard, a defensive-oriented player and rebounder, has been a great fit for what head coach Gregg Popovich seeks in drafting a young player.

Leonard has the opportunity to learn on the fly from a veteran team looking to make a run at a championship.

Leonard was drafted by the Indiana Pacers with the 15th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. However, the Spurs made an aggressive trade in moving fan favorite guard George Hill to the Pacers in exchange for Leonard who has been a nice fit in San Antonio.

Interestingly, the Spurs as an organization historically do not expect their rookies to make major contributions, but this season has been quite different. Leonard has come into a wonderful situation being able to learn through playing and from all of the veterans surrounding him in the locker room.

In his rookie season Leonard has averaged 8.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game so far this season and is expected to get better as he gains experience.