Kawhi Leonard is bringing a new basketball move into the 2023-24 NBA season. Well, the move is new for him — but has already been making waves around the WNBA.
When Leonard was recently asked by The Athletic's Law Murray about his new step-through move — which involves legally picking up the pivot foot and stepping around a defender to drive to the basket, and which Leonard had been using during the NBA preseason — during a Los Angeles Clippers press conference, Leonard said that he first noticed the move being utilized successfully in the WNBA.
Apologies for not posting this yesterday
I asked Kawhi Leonard yesterday about a move that is quickly becoming a signature for him, where he finds a way to legally pick up his pivot foot.
— Law Murray ? (@LawMurrayTheNU) October 25, 2023
"I think a lot of WNBA players do it," Leonard responded to Murray. "I thought it was just a WNBA rule at first, but I realized that you could pick up that [pivot] foot."
Leonard is correct about the step-through being a commonly (and cleverly) used technique in the women's game. One player who has turned the step-through into her signature move is DeWanna Bonner, a Forward on the Connecticut Sun. While the step-through certainly looks like a travel to someone who isn't familiar with the rules, Bonner has wisely used it to her advantage all over the court — which clearly caught Kawhi Leonard's attention.
Another WNBA player with an excellent step-through is A'ja Wilson — the 2022 WNBA MVP, 2022 and 2023 WNBA Champion, and 2023 WNBA Finals MVP — who used it during this year's WNBA Finals to cook Breanna Stewart (who, much to Wilson's chagrin, won the 2023 WNBA MVP) in the paint.
Kawhi an A?ja fan? pic.twitter.com/ZDVnzRh089
— L (@thelylway) October 25, 2023
Although the WNBA will never be able to compete with the NBA, in terms of raw athleticism, size, speed, and physicality, the two leagues are more or less equal in terms of basketball technique and skill. In fact, many basketball fans believe that since WNBA players have to rely on their agility, intelligence, and skillset instead of getting to fall back on sheer physicality like men often can, the women's game is purer, more graceful, and more enjoyable to watch as a result. Or they can at least respect that the WNBA offers a different athletic appeal than that of its NBA counterpart.
Kawhi Leonard was able to learn something while watching the WNBA. More fans should follow his lead.
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