Gregg Popovich on Kawhi Leonard:
“The block (shot) is what makes him so special. Obviosuly, the 3, you know Harden makes 3’s. Kawhi makes 3’s. This guy makes 3’s, that guy makes 3’s. Steph makes 3’s. Everybody does that. But I don’t know who goes to the other end and does what he does – not that many people on a consistent basis, and entire game, game after game.”
What they’re saying:
“He’s tenacious. It starts with a level of pride and intensity.” -Quin Snyder
“He’s just trying to be the best basketball player he can be. That encompasses playing both ends of the floor.” -Gregg Popovich
“He’s probably the best two-way player in the league now. You have to deal with him in all kinds of different ways.” -Steve Kerr
From Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich:
He’s a grown up. He’s a professional who really takes pride in what he does every day, (every) practice.
He came in and tried to learn the system quickly and asked a lot of questions. Even though he’s been in the league awhile, he was like new born in a sense.
That professionalism engenders leadership and it engenders respect from other players. That was established very quickly. That’s one of the first things I noticed about him.
“Once you have a whole group on the same page, each individual tends to play better.”
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: “He doesn’t have a chip on his shoulder or trying to make a statement, he’s just playing. He’s getting better all the time, and getting more confident. We’re getting him more and more room, and you’re seeing a young player blossom.”
More from Pop: “He stole it from Curry the other night, just took it from him and went down and dunked it, and his expression did not change. He didn’t raise his fist or look cool to the crowd or do any of this stupid-ass stuff. He didn’t do a thing. He just goes the other direction, like he’s bored to death. I love that about him.”
Tim Duncan on his teammate: “He’s not doing it the wrong way. He’s taking great shots and continuing to be unselfish, but he’s absolutely being aggressive. That’s what we need from him.”
On Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker:
“They care about the group more than they care about themselves.”
Following a loss in Game 4 of the western conference finals.
“We’ve got to play smarter against such great athletes … small margin of error, and you’d better be smart the way you play. And I think we have to play harder. I think they’re playing more physically than we are. They’re still getting more 50-50 balls and playing with more determination than we did.”
“Relationships with people are what it’s all about. You have to make players realize you care about them. And they have to care about each other and be interested in each other. Then they start to feel a responsibility toward each other. Then they want to do it for each other.”