Coach Popovich's perfect insight on Kawhi Leonard and the MVP race

Kawhi Leonard is getting more and more support for a run at the NBA’s Most Valuable Player award, but San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t have time for that discussion.

Coach Popovich, known for his no-nonsense approach to everything in life and basketball, spoke about his budding stars chances at the year-end award. 

You’ll be shocked to hear that the MVP conversation isn’t one the Spurs are holding in their locker room. Popovich’s quotes on why that is a perfect example of what makes him such a unique leader for San Antonio.

“We don’t talk about MVP Awards. We don’t talk about any awards. We don’t talk about championships. We just play the game,” Popovich said following Leonard’s masterful 39-point performance in a memorable win over the Houston Rockets, via Mike Monroe of Bleacher Report.

“Everybody tries to do what they can to make the team better and whatever records or awards or wins that come, that’s the way it is.”

That’s the way it’s always been for San Antonio with Popovich at the helm. They lace up their shoes, hit the hardwood and just focus on playing basketball. The Spurs have set the bar for consistency for any professional sports franchise in any sport, and Coach Popovich is a big reason why. 

It’s this kind of mentality that weaves the fabric of the Spurs’ identity. San Antonio doesn’t let outside noise dictate their club, focused only on being they best they can internally. That focus has generated amazing success over the last two decades. 

Leonard, meanwhile, has been a marvel to watch. His steady growth after being acquired by the Spurs in a draft day trade has been nothing short of amazing, and he’s clearly stepping into the role Tim Duncan filled in San Antonio for years. 

He absolutely should be in the mix for the NBA’s MVP award, but don’t expect Popovich and the Spurs to try and persuade voters. 

“It’s not king of the prom,” Popovich said of the MVP voting process, going on to disparage the lengths teams go to market why their star should win the award.

“I believe that people who vote for it vote based on criteria that are logical and appropriate and I don’t think they need to be politicked and talked to and stroked to do what they need to do.

“Some ways, it’s the American way, but I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. Chemistry sets? That’s one of the big ones I remember. Way back when, I got one, too. I put it in the garbage.”

While teams send out gimmicky promotions to pump up their player, the Spurs are so focused on basketball it sounds like Coach Popovich would be hard-pressed to so much as send out a stat sheet showing why Leonard deserves the award.

And that’s fine, because it’s perfectly Popvich and San Antonio. Let the basketball speak for itself. 

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