NBA Trainer Reveals Kawhi Leonard Patterned His Game After Former Knicks Star

Kawhi Leonard, Clippers, Knicks

Getty Kawhi Leonard #2 of the LA Clippers is defended by Jrue Holiday #21 of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Former New York Knicks trainer Chris Brickley shared an epic story about how Kawhi Leonard mastered the art of the mid-range game, which propelled him to stardom.

Leonard got it from former Knicks star Carmelo Anthony.

“I worked with Kawhi, this was like before he was an All-Star,” Brickley revealed on the August 16 episode of The Hoop Chat with Emily Austin. “He came up to me and said, I want to learn Melo’s moves.”

Brickley told Leonard to ask for Anthony’s permission.

“He said sure,” Brickley recalled. “We worked and he had a breakout season. He won a championship, became an All-Star and won Finals MVP, and I was like, ‘Wow,’ and he was like thanking me, and I was like, ‘If I could do this with other players, that’d be so dope.'”

Leonard’s transformation from a role player into a bona fide NBA superstar convinced Brickley in 2017 to leave his job with the Knicks as a player development coordinator, a role he held since 2013.

Brickley got into the Knicks organization after the team was impressed with his work on J.R. Smith, who won NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2013.

Thanks to Anthony, Leonard became a midrange god in the NBA. And thanks to Leonard, Brickley became one of the most sought-after NBA skills trainers today.

Brickley’s BlackOps Basketball runs have always attracted the league’s top stars, including LeBron James. He’s also the first NBA skills trainer to have a sneaker deal.

RJ Barrett Ranks 7th Among NBA U-25 Wings With Highest Ceilings

Knicks’ starting small forward RJ Barrett made it to seventh spot in the Bleacher Report’s top 10 NBA wings under 25 with the highest ceilings.

Ahead of him are Orlando’s Paolo Banchero and his teammate Franz Wagner (no.3), Toronto’s Scottie Barnes (no. 2), Portland’s Shaedon Sharpe (no. 4), Charlotte’s lottery pick Brandon Miller (no. 5), and Minnesota’s Jaden McDaniels (no. 6).

Trailing Barrett in the list are Sacramento’s Keegan Murray (no. 8), San Antonios’ Devin Vassell (no. 9) and Indiana’s Bennedict Mathurin (no. 10), who rounded up the list.

Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley, who came up with rankings, cited Barrett’s lack of consistent outside shot and poor free throw shooting as why the 23-year-old Knicks forward ranked low.

“That said, the possibility can’t be ruled out. For that matter, neither can his chances of becoming a better playmaker and more reliable defender,” Buckley wrote.

Knicks Hire Ex-Bucks Video Assistant

Amid a legal battle against their former video analytics director, Ike Azotam, the Knicks hired former Milwaukee Bucks video and player development assistant Carson Shanks as an assistant video coordinator, Heavy Sports learned on Thursday.

Shanks also served last season as an assistant coach for the Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks’ G-League affiliate.

On Monday, the Knicks filed a lawsuit against Azotam and his new employer, the Toronto Raptors, and several members of their organization including new head coach Darko Rajaković, claiming that they stole proprietary information, a team spokesperson told Heavy Sports.

Shanks will join Reggie Cameron, Everett Dayton and Corey Sherman as the Knicks’ assistant video coordinators for next season.




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