Before San Antonio’s game against the Bucks, Popovich was asked about Patty Mills’ role as a leader without Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Kawhi this season.
Here was his response, according to the San Antonio Express-News’ Jeff McDonald:
Kawhi was a great player, but he wasn’t a leader. Manu and Patty were the leaders. Kawhi’s talent will always be missed, but leadership wasn’t his deal at the time. That may come as progresses. Patty and Manu filled that role for us last year. LaMarcus Aldridge came a long way as a leader also.
Gregg Popovich was asked about his current team’s leadership now that Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard are gone and instead of simply saying ‘yea, Patty Mills has really stepped up’, he instead took this opportunity to go out of his way to distinguish that Kawhi was never a leader.
Kawhi Leonard essentially held out of last season and was promising to do it again if he weren’t traded to Los Angeles. Whether he had a leg injury or not, my man is healthy as hell right now in Toronto having an MVP caliber season while the San Antonio Spurs are a lottery team at the moment.
Not only did he say Kawhi wasn’t a leader but he went on to add that LaMarcus Aldridge was a leader on the team. Aldridge got to San Antonio in 2015. Kawhi was there 4 years prior and won the Finals MVP award in 2014. Popovich might as well have said ‘I don’t know who Kawhi is but man, I really love the way Rudy Gay plays basketball’.
Typically, I support any and all pettiness but there’s something about this shade that makes me uncomfortable.
Kawhi Leonard was a quiet soldier in San Antonio that did everything that was asked of him and more. Finally, he loses trust with the team’s medical facility, he has one request and desire and all of a sudden he’s portrayed as this selfish asshole.
Kawhi led the Spurs by example. You see this guy locking down LeBron James and Kevin Durant on the perimeter and that shit is contagious.
BOOO, Gregg Popovich.
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