Shannon Sharpe Calls Out Kawhi Leonard For His Declining Defense, Leonard Previously Admitted That He’s Not The Defender He Used To Be

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Shannon Sharpe Calls Out Kawhi Leonard For His Declining Defense, Leonard Previously Admitted That He’s Not The Defender He Used To Be


NBA Analyst Shannon Sharpe got some words for Kawhi Leonard after seeing him getting dismantled on defense from time to time throughout this season.

Appearing on ‘Undisputed’, Sharpe questioned the hype regarding Leonard’s defense where he was lauded as the best wing defender since Scottie Pippen. Sharpe now made a bold opinion that Leonard hasn’t been the same defender he once was.


“Everybody keeps telling me the greatest two wing defenders since Jordan and Pippen are those two guys (George and Leonard). I watched earlier this year, Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart almost get into it. Both of them lit him (Leonard) up.”

“Kawhi Leonard is not the same defender he once was. His lateral movement, his quickness is not what it used to be. And if anybody says it is, they’re fooling themselves. They’re holding on to things of the past.”



Leonard initially got the reputation because of his perennial defense. Back with the San Antonio Spurs, Leonard’s workload was lesser, and his role was more diminished. Playing beside Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker allowed Leonard to conserve more energy on defense as he wasn’t asked to shoulder much of the offense.

Earlier in February of this year, Leonard has pretty much answered the concerns regarding his defense. When Michael Pina of SB Nation asked Leonard on whether he’s still playing the same level on defense as before, Leonard gave a sincere and straightforward response.


“I mean, no. That was my job back then. I wasn’t getting the ball as often and my hat had to hang on being the best defensive player. Can’t do that now. It’s too much energy on the floor.” 


Players taking a step back on defense to play more offense isn’t new. Somehow, some players have to sacrifice one or two aspects of their game to effectively play another one. And that’s exactly what’s happening to Leonard as of late.

However, that doesn’t mean Leonard has declined on defense massively. In fact, Leonard made the All-Defensive 2nd Team last year and there’s a huge possibility he gets voted into this year’s as well. It’s just that Leonard has set a higher standard on defense that any less of it sometimes appears underwhelming. 

The Los Angeles Clippers superstar was named as the Defensive Player of the Year twice in 2015 and 2016. Leonard has been an instrumental piece to the Clippers success and is one of the reasons Clippers have propelled on defense, from being a 21st ranked defense last year to being top five in the NBA this year.

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