Kawhi Leonard-Gregg

In Los Angeles, Kawhi Leonard was on the route to becoming a legend while playing for Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs before signing as a free agent with the Los Angeles Clippers. Clearly, things broke down, but their bond has remained intact.

Leonard got to play against his former coach and squad on Saturday night’s Clippers vs. Spurs game in Los Angeles since he was back in the lineup. Leonard scored 11 points and dished out four assists in 22 minutes as LA trounced San Antonio, 119-97.

Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard enjoyed a moment at center court following the game:

Leonard praised his former mentor while remaining mum on what he and Popovich had said to one another.

Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers said of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, “He meant a lot.” I am the player I am today because of him. He laid the groundwork for that foundation by coaching me to win basketball games. Still one of my favorite coaches. Too many fights have taken place for our connection to be marred.

Popovich was questioned about Leonard’s continual development as he enters his 12th season in the NBA before the game.

“Are you serious?” Popovich made a joke. He will most likely become a Hall of Fame player. He wasn’t a Hall of Fame player when he was originally selected, so I’d say he’s come a long way since then. He did a fantastic job. He has put in a lot of effort.

Gregg Popovich told in 2019 that no one could have predicted Leonard would become as talented as he is.

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“We didn’t know he was going to be Kawhi Leonard when we made that trade for him and drafted him, just like we didn’t know Manu [Ginobili] was going to be Manu when we drafted him at whatever point, like 57 or whatever,” Popovich continued. “Those who claim that are lying to you.

No matter where a player is selected in the draft—fourth or nineteenth—you can never predict how he will develop.

It’s encouraging to see that Gregg Popovich and Kawhi Leonard still get along despite the nasty conclusion to Popovich’s time as coach of the San Antonio Spurs.

Between the regular season and the postseason, Leonard played 494 games with the Spurs, helping them win the 2014 NBA title while also winning the NBA Finals MVP Award.

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