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Gregg Popovich says Kawhi Leonard is good player but was not the leader of San Antonio Spurs

Before Saturday's match in Milwaukee, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked about the importance of puncture Patty Mill's…

Before Saturday’s match in Milwaukee, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked about the importance of puncture Patty Mill’s leadership in the wake of Manu Ginobili’s retirement and Kawhi Leonard’s trade to Toronto, and he gave an undisputed assessment of Leonard.

“Kawhi was a good player, but he was not leader or anything,” told Popovich for Leonard journalists, 2014 NBA Finals MVP and two-year Defensive Player of the Year. “Manu and Patty were leaders. Kawhi’s talent will always be missing, but the leadership was not his business at the time. It may come when he progresses, but Manu and Patty filled that role last year, and LaMarcus [Aldridge] came a long way in that respect too. “

Leonard is expected to return to San Antonio on January 3, when Raptors meets Spurs at AT & T Center.

Sent to Toronto together with Danny Green in exchange for DeMar DeRozan, Jakob Poeltl and a protected 201

9 first round, Leonard played in just nine matches last season for Spurs when he treated a right quadriceps injury.

During Leonard’s rehabilitation process, his relationship with Spurs was strained as pages disagree about different parts of the recovery and the different timesheets for return. He requested trading during the summer, and eventually Spurs was acquired.

Before what Leonard developed into one of NBA’s top two-way players and a permanent MVP candidate, Spurs had hoped he would play a greater role as leader, especially after the 2016 retirement by franchisee Tim Duncan.

Leonard actually started taking steps in that direction and he was often one of the first Spursna to deal with the media as a spokesman for games when Duncan retired.

However, after Leonard suffered an injury injury in Game 1 in the 2017 Western Conference final that forced him to miss the entire series, the team immediately revealed that he was dealing with the quadriceps problem. From that moment, Leonard became distant with the organization, the sources told ESPN.

But Popovich defended Leonard during the summer against any insinuation that he was not a good team mate.

“It’s all ridiculous,” said Popovich. “Kawhi was a good teammate all the way through. He did his job, and he was no problem for anyone. Speaking heads out there must have a story. If I was a talking head – maybe I am – I would have stories too. stories that denied him in that regard, it was unfortunate and incorrect. “

The spurs did some significant changes during the offseason, losing longtime point guard Tony Parker, like Ginobili and Kyle Anderson, who signed as a freelance with Memphis Grizzlies.

All changes left something of a leadership influence that Mills has adopted along with Aldridge.

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