Who knew Charles Barkley could have such an effect on the reigning Defensive Player of the Year?
In an effort to help Leonard become more efficient as opposing teams schemed for him, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich gave the star forward a CD with clips of the Hall of Fame forward handling and beating double teams.
“At this point, he’s just trying to figure out what to do when people come after him,” Popovich said. “He’s getting double teamed now, and that’s a whole different basketball game.”
“It’s my first time going through it,” Leonard said of the regular double teams. “It’s fun. You just go out there and try to compete and try to make a play for your teammates.”
Leonard is averaging a team-high 22.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, two steals, 1.4 blocks and shooting 52.8% from the field and 37.5% on three-pointers.
Barkley said he was honored by Pops gesture:
When told Popovich put together a CD of his decision-making, Barkley was honored. “For Gregg Popovich to give a tape of me to Kawhi Leonard, that’s just awesome. It really is,” Barkley said. “I really appreciate that compliment.”
Not only does Barkley offer a visual education in beating double teams, he gave a spoken lesson.
Barkley struggled to beat double teams early in his career here with the 76ers, but once he figured it out, he was lethal.