Jason Smith: “I ask you this: is Kawhi Leonard an all-time great NBA star, or is Kawhi a player who is the best player on loaded teams who fills in the holes, and is more of a ‘put you over the top’ guy, than an all-time great? This isn’t whether Kawhi is great or not, it’s just how great is he? When the Spurs won in 2014 he was a terrific young player but that was a loaded team that beat the Heat in the NBA Finals. The year he leaves San Antonio, they win one more game than the year before when they had Kawhi. He goes to Toronto and they win the championship, but look at where Toronto is now without Kawhi. Toronto is a game away from being back in the East Finals and you can’t even say this looks like a Raptors team who is overachieving. Could another star have come in and put the Raptors over the top? I think so. Look at the Clippers this year. The Clippers have a great roster and are terrific. Who did they bring in Kawhi to be? – The ‘over the top’ guy to get you to a championship. Is he an all-time great or is THAT the kind of player he is? In the pantheon of NBA stars we anoint Kawhi and say he’s as good as everybody else and it’s 'Kawhi and LeBron', but when LeBron left the Cleveland Cavaliers the Cavaliers were absolutely terrible. Kawhi’s teams without him have been okay.” (Full Segment Above)
Listen to Jason Smith explain why he doesn’t think Kawhi Leonard is an ‘all-time great’, but rather a star player who is a ‘hired gun’ meant to come over to already loaded teams as the missing puzzle piece towards winning an NBA Finals championship.
Check out the audio above as Jason details why Toronto’s rise from projected lottery crater in the wake of Kawhi’s exit, to the NBA's second best record within a game of returning to the East Finals should make people rethink how they view Leonard's career.