And the Thunder has taken notice. When asked what he liked about Leonard’s game, Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks was extremely complimentary.
“It’s probably better to be put what I don’t like about his game,” Brooks said. “Nothing. He has an all-around game. He’s definitely an All-Star in the making, probably quickly. Does it all. A defender, playmaker, outside shooter, gets into the paint.”
“If I had to pick one thing I like about him most — just his demeanor,” Brooks continued. “He plays the game the way it should be played — hard. He’s not trying to show anybody up, just plays hard, a big play, that’s what he’s supposed to do mentality. I appreciate that from a distance.”
In the absence of Ibaka, plenty of rotational options are available for Brooks.
And that includes sporadically used Hasheem Thabeet, although the likelihood remains low, unless foul trouble forces Brooks’ hand.
“He’s strictly a five man and we lost a four,” Brooks said. “But he has to be ready. Foul trouble. His minutes in Game 1 against Memphis, Perk and Steven got two quick fouls and he played a few minutes.”
Durant on the first two rounds: “We played two great ballclubs that were well-coached, both teams. We lost some sleep at night preparing for these guys. And it was an emotional rollercoaster sometimes. But that’s what the playoffs is about. Every series prepares you for the next one.”