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Kawhi Leonard is stepping up as a leader

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Kawhi’s tireless efforts have taken him from being an average first round draft pick to a self-made superstar and leader.

NBA: San Antonio Spurs at Washington Wizards Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

In today’s Sunday Shootaround at SB Nation, Paul Flannery’s latest piece talks about Kawhi Leonard’s never-ending work ethic and the subtle leadership abilities that have him on the path to becoming the Spurs’ next Tim Duncan.

Leonard has come a long way from being that quiet guy the Spurs traded coach-favorite George Hill for. He is now a self-made super star with the confidence to lead a championship-contending team.

And much to Pop’s satisfaction, he can do it without making a spectacle of himself:

"He speaks to me about things that he sees now. He comes into timeouts, if he’s not happy with what’s going on on the court. That’s all good.

“I’d rather have him do that than beat his chest and wiggle his shoulders and stare at the camera and all that other crap."

The result is the Spurs hanging with the league’s best despite losing their best player in franchise history and having to adjust to so many new players and schemes. Even if by different means, the results are still the same. Just ask opposing coaches.

As Celtics coach Brad Stevens put it: "They sleep, they eat, they go through your stuff and then they execute you to death and leave your arena successful."

It’s a fascinating read, and I encourage you to check it out.