Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard responded Sunday to recent criticism by San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich about his leadership, saying the comments were “funny to me” and insisting that he is a leader.
“It’s funny to me.”
Kawhi Leonard responds to Gregg Popovich saying Kawhi “was a great player but he wasn’t a leader or anything.”
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) November 26, 2018
Before Sunday’s game, Popovich was asked about the importance of point guard Patty Mills’ leadership in the wake of Manu Ginobili’s retirement and Leonard’s trade to Toronto, and he provided a blunt assessment of Leonard.
“Kawhi was a great player, but he wasn’t a leader or anything,” Popovich told reporters of the 2014 NBA Finals MVP and two-time Defensive Player of the Year. “Manu and Patty were the leaders. Kawhi’s talent will always be missed, but that leadership wasn’t his deal at that time. That may come as he progresses, but Manu and Patty filled that role last year, and LaMarcus [Aldridge] came a long way in that regard also.”
Gregg Popovich was asked about Patty Mills' role as a leader this season, given the offseason losses of longtime Spurs like Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard. His answer: pic.twitter.com/NQRAZfeX9t
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) November 25, 2018
Leonard said Sunday that he is a leader but he shows it in different ways.
“I’m just trying to lift people’s spirits up, that’s about it. Don’t try to get anybody too down, just lift them up.”
This is just Pop being honest. Not necessarily a dig at Leonard. There are plenty ways to lead, but Pop was asked about it, and answered honestly.
Leonard can laugh, but he can’t lead.
— SportsGossip.com (@sportsgossip) October 4, 2018