"Kawhi was a great player, but he wasn't a leader or anything," Popovich told reporters of Leonard, 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."
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.
"I heard about it. It's just funny to me because, you know, I don't know if he's talking about last year or not, but I guess when you stop playing they forget how you lead," Leonard told reporters in Toronto. "Other than that, it doesn't matter. I'm here with the Raptors. My focus is on the season and not what's going on the other side."
"I lead by example coming into practice every day. Just going hard and coming into these games mentally focused," he said. "You can't see things once you're playing on the floor. Guys ask me questions about their matchup or if I see something on the floor, I'm telling guys, 'Go here, go there,' just motivating people, do you know what I mean?