The shy, reticent California kid responsible for transforming the San Antonio Spurs, delivering a gassed dynasty its second wind, had come to the franchise with brazen strength, a stout spirit and a flawed shot. Hours after the NBA draft three years ago, the Spurs hurried Kawhi Leonard through his "Welcome to the NBA" news conference and out onto the practice court with shooting coach Chip Engelland, according to Yahoo Sports.
As the clock lurched toward midnight on July 1, Engelland worked to change Leonard's release point, reshaping his shot and retraining his mind to trust what suddenly felt so awkward. Time was running out together, and soon the Spurs would leave a 20-year-old to administer his own reclamation. No coaches, no calls, no contact.
"He had come in, worked with Chip for three days and then – the lockout happened," Spurs general manager R.C. Buford told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday night. "There was intention in the [shooting] prescription given him. It was not just drill work."
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