Spurs’ Popovich says Kawhi Leonard ‘wasn’t a leader’

Toronto forward Kawhi Leonard dribbling past Miami forward Justise Winslow during the Raptors' 125-115 win at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday. He says he found his former San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich's comments that

Toronto forward Kawhi Leonard dribbling past Miami forward Justise Winslow during the Raptors' 125-115 win at Scotiabank Arena on Sunday. He says he found his former San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich's comments that"he wasn't a leader funn

Leonard, who was ultimately traded to Toronto, was asked Sunday about the comments of his former head coach.

Though Popovich did praise Kawhi's skillset and noted that Leonard could turn into more of a leader as he grows as a player, it's clear the Spurs bench boss thought less of Kawhi in that role compared to Spurs legends like Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker - or even Patty Mills, apparently.

Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard responded to criticism about his leadership levied by San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, saying that the comments were "funny to me". Kawhi's talent will always be missed, but leadership wasn't his deal at the time.

"That may come as he progresses, but Manu and Patty filled that role past year, and LaMarcus [Aldridge] came a long way in that regard also". He said he had heard about Popovich's comments, but hadn't read them.

Asked about those remarks Sunday, following a home win over the Heat, Leonard said, "It's just amusing to me, because I don't know if he's talking about previous year or not".

"Coming into practice everyday just going hard and coming into these games mentally focused", Leonard said. Guys ask me questions about their match-up, or if I see something on the floor, I'm telling guys, 'go here, go there, ' just motivating people.

"I think this is just Greg getting something back from last season". "That's about it. Just don't try to get nobody too down and just lift them up".

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It doesn't help that San Antonio is in the midst of a rough stretch, going 3-7 over their last 10 games.

Leonard didn't seem like much of a leader with the Spurs. After scoring a season-high 35 points in Sunday's loss to the Toronto Raptors, he was more than willing to accept it.

Gregg Popovich isn't known for his humor but he said something his former star found a little amusing.

Since his trade, Leonard has made an immediate impact for the Raptors.

They expect stars to be captains and outspoken leaders.

Leonard has been in MVP form since joining the Raptors. For the season, he is averaging 24.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game.

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