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The next Kawhi Leonard? Rookie admits emulating former Spurs star

Kawhi Leonard, Spurs, Devin Vassell

Devin Vassell had his best game in a San Antonio Spurs jersey on Tuesday, as he helped his squad to a 116-113 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. The 20-year-old rookie has emerged as one of San Antonio’s most prized youngsters. So much so, that some comparisons have been made to former Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard.

Vassell had an opportunity to face off against one of his biggest idols in Leonard — now with the Clippers — on Tuesday. After the game, the former Florida State standout shared his thoughts on his experience of going toe-to-toe against a player he considers to be a hero:

Vassell finished Tuesday’s win against Leonard and the Clippers with 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting, three triples, two rebounds, and a steal in 17 minutes of play. Veteran teammate LaMarcus Aldrige had nothing but good things to say about Vassell after the game:

Do the Spurs have their next Kawhi Leonard in Vassell? It’s too early to tell at this point, but it appears that the kid possesses the right type of mindset to succeed in the league. In an earlier interview, Vassell expressed how he tries to pattern his game to that of Leonard and other stars in the league:

To be fair to Vassell, he seems to be taking a similar path to that of Kawhi:

Vassell has emerged as a mainstay in coach Gregg Popovich’s rotation this season, and the 11th overall pick has churned averages of 4.8 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.0 steals in 16.0 minutes per game. At this moment, it appears that Vassell has a bright future ahead of him.