Kawhi Leonard is perhaps the best two-way player in the NBA when he's on the court. However, that hasn't happened all that often, as the Los Angeles Clippers star is used to missing games even when he's healthy.
Leonard's load management is supposed to keep him healthy and fresh for the playoffs, yet he's been hurt more often than not, and it seems like it's been ages since we last saw him play.
That's why ESPN's Stephen A. Smith took some time to call him out on First Take, pulling the brakes on all the Kawhi comeback hype, as he's failed to prove that he can consistently be on the floor.
NBA News: Stephen A. Smith Takes A Shot At Kawhi Leonard
"That damn Kawhi Leonard has gotten off the hook long enough. Enough of this," said the analyst. "When we talk about a cat that is an absolute professional at missing games, Kawhi [Leonard], nobody beats him. He's the 5x champion! 2017, played 9 games. The year they won in Toronto, they played 60 games, had load management, was healthy, they avoided back-to-backs, missed about 22 games. Next year with the Clippers, first year, he missed 25 games okay. Next year after that he missed 30 games. And then last year, he missed the whole season."
"This brother misses more games than a little bit and we never say anything because Kawhi Leonard don't talk and because he doesn't talk and he doesn't make headlines with anything but his game, we've given him a pass," Smith added. "Also because he's a 2x champion and we know he''s all-world when on the court and healthy. But damn, you gotta play bro. You gotta play. I assure you he ain't missing checks. Can we see you play please?"
Leonard is as dominant defensively as impactful offensively, but he's rarely seen on the court. Hopefully, he'll finally play a full season, including back-to-back games, just like all the other stars in the league do.