TUCSON, AZ - MARCH 19: Kawhi Leonard #15 of the San Diego State Aztecs scores the final basket in double overtime against the Temple Owls in the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at McKale Center on March 19, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
The Kings today had another six man group workout, this time featuring San Diego State's Kawhi Leonard. Leonard is the first non-PG the Kings have brought into Sacramento that could be in contention at the 7th pick.
The other players at the workout were Scotty Hopson (G/F from Tennessee), DeAndre Liggins (G/F from Kentucky), Mickey McConnell (PG from St. Mary's), Kalin Lucas, (PG from Michigan St.), and Jamine Peterson (SF from NBDL).
Like the other workouts, the media was allowed to view approx. 10-15 minutes of 3-on-3 competition. Hopson, Liggins and Lucas played against Leonard, Peterson and McConnell.
After the jump, my impressions as well as video of the interviews.
Leonard is among a select group of players the Kings are targeting at the #7 pick. During the workout, Leonard had some good and bad moments. Physically he is very long, has good size for a Small Forward, and his hands are as huge as advertised. Defensively he had some very good moments and a couple good contests/partial blocks when he got into a good stance and close to his opponent, but he did have lapses as well. Liggins got off and made a few jumpers on Leonard, who wasn't guarding the sharpshooter nearly close enough.
Offensively, Leonard was a lot more comfortable around the basket, fighting for position to get put-backs, and using the backboard to his advantage. His jumper was a different matter however, missing all but one of his attempts that I saw.
What I liked most about Leonard though was his interview. He came off as a very humble kid, who knows that becoming successful in the NBA is going to require a lot of hard work. He also mentioned how he prides himself on his defense, as a personal thing, and that he wants to keep working on his game so he can be more versatile. He seemed very mature for his age, and while he might never be a star, I don't think that he'll be a failure either.
A couple interesting notes from the workout/interview regarding Leonard; After the workout, Joe, Gavin and Coach Westphal all got up to immediately talk to him. They did not do this for Kemba Walker (They instead talked to Vucevic). Take this for what you will. The other interesting note comes starting at the 1:48 mark of the below interview, when Leonard drops this quote regarding how he would fit in with the Kings:
"I think I'd fit in great ... they were just telling me they probably need a 3 in this year's draft ... "
Something to ponder.
Here's Kawhi's Interview from Kings.com
Hopson was the star of the part of the workout made available for media viewing. He was very aggressive on offense, had great quickness, and his shot was spot on. He has enough height to play SF, but he's probably more suited to the SG position right now. He has good ball handling skills as well, although don't think this means he can play a Point Forward role, as he was looking to score each and every time.
Defensively he wasn't great, and its definitely the part of the game he has to work on the most. He has all the tools to become a good defender though.
Here's Scotty's Interview from Kings.com
Liggins showed off his great shooting ability, nailing a few jumpers over Leonard's outstreched arms. Defensively he had trouble keeping the stronger Leonard off the block.
A small, aggressive guard with good quickness and ball handling ability. He looks to be more of a score first guy than a pass first and he showed off a good jumper.
Peterson was having a lot of trouble guarding the much quicker Hopson. He did a little bit better job on Liggins. He'll be here again tomorrow, which is when he was originally scheduled. He was here today because someone bailed on today's workout (don't know who) and they needed the extra body for the 3 on 3.