Support Local Journalism, Join the SA Current Press Club.

Former Spur Steve Smith Says Gregg Popovich Made Kawhi Leonard a Star 

SPURS / INSTAGRAM
  • spurs / Instagram
Kawhi Leonard may have been traded to Toronto almost a year ago, but a former Spur is weighing in on the star player's relationship with the franchise.

Steve Smith, who played in San Antonio from 2001 to 2003, said Gregg Popovich made a star out of now-Raptor Kawhi Leonard.



"He's made stars out of players we never expected." Smith told Heavy in a recent interview. "I never thought Kawhi, Manu and Tony would become what they were."

Before his rise with the Spurs, Smith saw Leonard as a player who would be primarily skilled in defense but not necessarily as a "potent scorer."

"I saw a guy that defended well and played well off the basketball," he said. "Now I see a guy that's comfortable with it."

Smith said the relationship between Coach Pop and the Klaw allowed Leonard to "become the star player he is today." To Smith, Leonard's star power is largely in part to his being under Popovich's training during his seven seasons with the Spurs.

Today, Leonard is considered one of the biggest stars in the NBA.

Too bad he wasn't loyal.

Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the San Antonio Current Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the San Antonio Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 20, 2021

View more issues

Newsletters

Join SA Current Newsletters

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Calendar

© 2021 San Antonio Current

Website powered by Foundation