Report: Suns Passed on Kawhi Leonard in Draft Partially Because of Nervous Interview

by May 11, 2017
kawhi leonard draft

The Phoenix Suns probably regret this one.

The Arizona Republic reports the story of how Phoenix passed on Kawhi Leonard with the 13th pick in the 2011 Draft because of questions about his shot and nervousness during his pre-draft interview.

The Suns, of course, selected Markieff Morris, who Phoenix and eventually traded for the No. 13 pick in the 2016 draft (Georgios Papagiannis).

But with a front office conducting its first draft in Phoenix, then-General Manager Lance Blanks’ staff did not have Leonard in the discussion. Part of the Suns’ knock on Leonard, beyond his perimeter shot, was how nervously he acted in a draft combine interview, when he sweated through his suit.


The Suns chose among Markieff and Marcus Morris and Iman Shumpert. There was more pre-draft talk about reconsidering Jimmer Fredette than Leonard.

If it’s any consolation, 11 other teams passed on Leonard (in the case of Cleveland and Utah, twice) before the Spurs finally selected him 15th overall.

How Leonard fell out of the lottery could go down as one of the biggest NBA Draft gaffs in the history of the sport.

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