Kawhi Leonard selected as starter for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game

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San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard. (Photo, Franco)

By Spurs Sports & Entertainment

The NBA announced that San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard has been selected to be a starter in the 2017 All-Star Game. The sixth-year Spur was voted by fans, players and media into the game to be held on Sunday, Feb. 19 in New Orleans. Now named a starter in back-to-back seasons after making his first All-Star appearance last year, Leonard becomes the fifth Spurs player in franchise history to be selected as an All-Star starter more than once, joining George Gervin, Alvin Robertson, David Robinson and Tim Duncan.

Leonard has helped lead the Spurs to a 33-9 record this season and was part of making 2016 San Antonio’s winningest calendar year in franchise history (66-15). The NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year in each of the last two seasons, Leonard is averaging career highs in points (24.8 ppg), assists (3.1 apg), free throw percentage (.907, 253-279) and minutes (33.2 mpg), also posting 5.7 rebounds and 1.85 steals per game while shooting .488 (318-651) from the floor and .417 (80-192) from long distance in 39 appearances.

The 2014 NBA Finals MVP currently ranks fourth in the NBA in free throw percentage, sixth in steals and 10th in scoring. Posting 12 games with 30-or-more points, he has the most 30-point games by a Spur in the first half of the season since David Robinson’s 13 in 1995-96. Leonard is the only player in the NBA averaging at least 20.0 points while shooting over 40.0 percent from three-point range and 90.0 percent from the free throw line.

This season, Leonard made his 300th career start and registered 235 wins in those games, the most of any player in league history through 300 starts. Leonard currently has the highest winning percentage in NBA history (.780, 283-80) out of all players who have played at least 350 games.

His current 24.8 points per game is the highest scoring average by a Spurs player since Tim Duncan averaged 25.5 points in his 2001-02 MVP season. Having scored double figures in each of the last 73 games, Leonard’s active streak is the longest by a Spur since Duncan’s 75 straight in 2005. With 30-or-more points in each of his last four contests, Leonard became the first player in San Antonio franchise history to ever post at least 30 points while shooting at least 60.0 percent in four straight games.

Joining Leonard as Western Conference starters are: Stephen Curry (Golden State), James Harden (Houston), Kevin Durant (Golden State) and Anthony Davis (New Orleans).

The 66th NBA All-Star Game will tip off on Sunday, Feb. 19 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans. The game will be seen by fans in more than 200 countries and territories and will be heard in more than 40 languages. TNT will televise the All-Star Game in the U.S. for the 15th consecutive year.

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