Leonard “was a great player,” but Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills led the way, according to Pop.
Gregg Popovich was asked about Patty Mills' role as a leader this season, given the offseason losses of longtime Spurs like Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard. His answer: pic.twitter.com/NQRAZfeX9t
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) November 25, 2018
Kawhi suited up in just nine games last season with the Spurs as he dealt with a lingering quadriceps injury, before he was traded to the Toronto Raptors.
Per USA Today:
Speaking to reporters before the Spurs played the Bucks in Milwaukee, Popovich was asked about the importance of Patty Mills’ leadership in lieu of Leonard’s trade and the departure of longtime stars Tony Parker (free agency) and Manu Ginobili (retirement).
“Kawhi was a great player, but he wasn’t a leader or anything,” Popovich said.
“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.”