While coach Gregg Popovich's constant desire to rest his players looms large, Leonard is coming off a 2016-17 campaign where he played a career-high 74 games. That translated to averages of 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.0 three-pointers across 33.... read more
While coach Gregg Popovich's constant desire to rest his players looms large, Leonard is coming off a 2016-17 campaign where he played a career-high 74 games. That translated to averages of 25.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.8 steals and 2.0 three-pointers across 33.4 minutes, which secured Leonard a spot as a finalist for league MVP honors alongside James Harden and Russell Westbrook. He also added his second All-Star nomination and All-NBA First Team award, further boosting his resume as one of the top perennial talents in the league. Leonard has always been labeled an elite defensive presence, and that was further evidenced by his 1.8 steals per game (8th in the NBA), but his continued improvement on the offensive side of the ball was especially encouraging, with his 25.5 points and 3.5 assists per contest again marking new career highs for the 26-year-old forward. While his field goal percentage and three-point percentage did dip a bit, shooting 48.5 percent and 38 percent, respectively, that can partly be attributed to an increase in his overall number of shots taken, which can conversely be looked at as a plus for his overall scoring load. Looking forward to the 2017-18 season, the Spurs' roster isn't getting any younger and regular contributors like Pau Gasol, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili should again see less and less minutes as the season goes along to preserve their legs for the playoffs, allowing Leonard to remain the workhorse. Rudy Gay's addition does bring another solid scorer to the forward ranks, but the fact that he's 30 years old and coming off a torn Achilles shouldn't detract from Leonard's ability to remain a top-10 pick in Fantasy leagues. Leonard himself is coming off a severely sprained ankle that he suffered during the playoffs back in May, forcing him to miss the final three games of the Western Conference Finals against the Warriors. He's fully expected to make a return to full strength ahead of training camp, which should allow Leonard the opportunity for a strong start to what could be another MVP caliber performance.