What They Don't Want You To Know About Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard is on the Clippers now, the NBA season is starting, but there’s something that they have been lying to you about #Kawhi #NBA #Clippers
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Kawhi Leonard is a phenomenon. He is one of the league’s quietest players on the court, but has become such a meme off the court. From his simple phrases to his expressions, Kawhi has become an icon, and also he’s one of the best players on the planet, period. And to the 87% that watch my videos that still aren’t subscribed, the NBA season has started, Kawhi is on the Clippers and he’s a fun guy so please subscribe.
Kawhi Leonard is known as the robot, the guy who’s a quiet locker room presence, who inspires others only through his play, but what I told you, that’s not true. Kawhi Leonard has only been on 2 teams before the Clippers in his 8 seasons in the NBA, the Spurs and the Raptors, but Kawhi didn’t come into the league as this star or NBA ready prospect. It’s easy to forget when we think about the star he is today. As a prospect surrounded by these figures, it’s easy to get your voice drowned out in a locker room filled with veterans, stars, and coaches who have succeeded at the highest level. He was one of the hardest workers on the team, he was described as a “gym rat”. But his personality was lost somewhere in this team.
After Kawhi’s injury, we all know the drama that followed with Kawhi. He felt as if he wasn’t ready to be playing despite the Spurs medical team giving him a clean bill of health. During the 2017-2018 season, Kawhi grew distant. It got so bad that in a team meeting in May, Tony Parker said that his quadriceps injury was 100 times worse. Manu Ginobli said it well when he spoke about Kawhi “The bulk of the camaraderie is pregame postgame and halftimes, when you are going through some adversity or trouble, and he is not with us most of the time. Sometimes you feel like an alien to the core group and you have to fight through it. You have to make an effort to still be around and be part of the everyday topics and the good things and the bad things. You have to make an effort.”
NBA teams have typically have a leader or leaders on the team that have a different style to them. The Clippers have two huge new pieces in Kawhi and Paul George. This team is aiming for a championship and so they need good chemistry. They have some good locker room voices like Louis Williams, the heart and soul in Patrick Beverley, but their best players should be involved in that. Paul George has shown that he can definitely be a good locker room guy that isn’t super vocal, but vocal enough to get the point across. Kawhi needs to be on the same page and he can be.
What wasn’t advertised about Kawhi Leonard was all what he did off the court with the Raptors, how vocal Kawhi was. Now, he was vocal with not only the organization, but with his teammates on what he wanted instead of giving cryptic messages through media. Kawhi texted Kyle Lowry when he got traded that he wanted to do something special. He actually hung out with his teammates off the court, even when he was doing “load management”. Norman Powell said that Kawhi was always communicating with us, telling us to “just to enjoy it. Don’t get too out of character, just enjoy the moment and continue to go out there and just lay it on the floor. So it was an amazing feeling just to be able to battle and chip away at it.” Kawhi consistently communicating with his teammates was not something he ever did on the Spurs. The Raptors needed a leader who was vocal to change their losing culture. We saw all the role players step up in big moments that previously never did, Kyle Lowry wasn’t a playoff disappearing act and actually led the Raptors on a few occasions. Kawhi was amazing in these playoffs, but the rest of the Raptors did a 180.
Out of all the players on the Clippers, Kawhi is the only one with an NBA championship so him and Doc Rivers will be crucial in leading this team in difficult moments. It’s one of those intangibles that great players are expected to have and what the media raves about. For instance, the media had a field day with LeBron when his leadership on the Lakers was leading to a down year or back in 2016 when Harden was apparently the silent leader. Kawhi was called a diva, a bad teammate, but there wasn’t any sort of amendment to that image. Kawhi is still seen as demanding, he’s still seen as a sort of outsider, but that is far from reality. So let’s give Kawhi the credit he deserves, forget the robotic Kawhi that was silent, Kawhi Leonard is a vocal leader that the Clippers need. But what do you think? Will the Clippers win the ship? Will Kawhi win defensive player of the year?