At the beginning of the season, I had a number of conversations with contributors and friends. The topic of discussion: had Kawhi Leonard developed to the point where the Spurs no longer had just a Big Three? There was no real consensus, but the overall feeling was one that we needed to see a bit more before judging.
Then the season began with Kawhi's eye infection, and his hand injury sidelined him for far longer than I thought it would. When he re-entered the starting lineup, he did fine but the Spurs still struggled. Then this happened against the Memphis Grizzlies:
I watched the play over and over as the game went to commercial. I knew that I'd never seen him make back-to-back baskets like those before and I felt like something had happened. Like some corner had been turned. It was the beginning of 15 straight Spurs points that he scored, and he hasn't looked back since.
In the two weeks since that game, a lot of things have happened. The national press has noticed and everybody's writing and talking about Kawhi. In this week's In the Bonus, the PtR staff asked ourselves the question "Is Kawhi Leonard one of the NBA's top 10 players?" That's quite a jump from the question of whether he was good enough to be included with the Big Three.
Without a doubt, Kawhi has made The Leap. A few years ago, Duncan said the Spurs were Parker's team. This week, Tony said that the Spurs are Kawhi's team. I don't think there's any doubt that we've exited the Big Three era.
And we've entered the time of the Spurs' Fab Four.
How long it'll last is anybody's guess, so we've got to enjoy it while we have it. I talked with Mrs. Wilco, and we came up with the following T-shirt design. Then we contacted the BreakingT guys, and now it's available for you guys and gals.
The postseason is approaching. The Spurs are rolling. Kawhi's improving. And Duncan's still blocking. I can't wait to see what happens in the playoffs, and I can't wait to get one of these shirts to wear for San Antonio's first round matchup.