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Tony Parker says the Spurs are Kawhi Leonard's team

The Spurs' star point guard has no issue taking on a smaller role now that Leonard is playing like a star.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

For some teams, the transition from an older star to a younger one can be problematic. We all know about the issues Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant had in the early-aught Lakers, but there are other low-profile cases like Ray Allen having trouble with Rajon Rondo taking on a bigger role on the Celtics and Monta Ellis reportedly not being thrilled with Chandler Parsons' larger contract in Dallas.

This has never been a problem with the San Antonio Spurs. David Robinson made way for Tim Duncan and Duncan had no reservations about reducing his role in favor of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. Now, it's Kawhi Leonard's turn to take the reins. If what Tony Parker said after Wednesday's win against the Rockets is any indication, the transition will again go smoothly.

"It's just like with me and Manu back in the day," Parker said, according to Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express News. "You have to share and wait your turn. Sometimes I don't see the ball for a long time but Kawhi is playing unbelievable. And it's going to be Kawhi's team anyway. Like Timmy transitioned to Manu, Manu transitioned to me, now it's going to be transitioned to Kawhi. I'll try my best to be aggressive and stay involved, but Kawhi's going to be the man."

After winning finals MVP in the Spurs' title run last season, Leonard struggled with injuries and never approached the level he showed in the playoffs until recently. Since March 1, he is averaging over 19 points and six rebounds per game with three steals to boot. He's been the league's best perimeter defender during that stretch and has showed the ability to take over on offense. Not coincidentally, San Antonio has won 19 their last 22 games. When Leonard plays like a star, the Spurs are at their best.

The Spurs have won 50 games for a record 16th straight season in no small part because their stars have always been fine with sacrificing individual numbers for the good of the team. Right now, that means Parker taking a back seat to Leonard. Parker can still explode on offense when the team needs him, as his 27 points against the Rockets show, but he is fine with picking his spots now that Leonard is excelling.

That selfless attitude is why no one will be surprised if San Antonio wins 50 games again next season, even if Duncan and Ginobili retire.

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