Former NBA guard Gilbert Arenas doesn’t think Kawhi Leonard, when he returns, will be a difference for the San Antonio Spurs.
The San Antonio Spurs lost Kawhi Leonard before the 2017-18 started. He suffered a quad injury that kept him out of training camp, the preseason and the first 21 games of the regular season. Without him, the Silver and Black went 14-7, with the 22nd game approaching on Friday night.
Despite the injury, Leonard is considered one of the best players in the NBA. Preseason rankings supported this, and thought he had a chance at winning the 2017-18 MVP. That doesn’t seem likely, with every he misses. However, upon return, the Spurs should receive a boost at both ends of the court.
One former player doesn’t think this, though. Gilbert Arenas, who has a show on Complex, titled Out of Bounds, he questioned how good Leonard is, basing it on the team’s performance without him (h/t News4SanAntonio.com for transcription):
“Is he that good? If he’s that good but the team hasn’t suffered from his loss? If you control the offense and the defense and you’re the impact player but when you’re gone, it has not changed nothing, they’re (Spurs) are still rolling like they normally do.
He’s a good player in a great system.”
See he is off the team and they are still good at defense. What does he actually do to impact?
Well, it wouldn’t be a surprise to hear people disagree with this. That’s NBA players and fans. Sure, Kyle Anderson produced well in Leonard’s role, but it’s difficult to think anyone will question the latter getting the starting nod whenever he comes back.
In recent seasons, Leonard has become one of the NBA’s most decorated players. While not winning a season’s MVP award, he claimed the 2014 NBA Finals MVP award, with a breakout performance against the Miami Heat. Couple that with multiple Defensive Player of the Year awards and being a top player on 60-win teams.
Did Arenas have a point? Or was he off the mark?