The Suns Passed On Kawhi Leonard Partially Because He Sweat Through His Suit During A Combine Interview
AZCentral- Leonard did not work out for the Suns, who were picking 13th. He was clearly a defensive standout but the San Diego State power forward needed to become an NBA small forward at 6 feet 7. His jump shot was suspect but his work ethic was not. His college coach, Steve Fisher, told NBA staff that Leonard would not be satisfied by money.
There seems like there would have been much to discuss about Leonard. A gaze at his 7-3 wingspan and hands as long as men’s size 7½ shoes would be an adequate prompt.
This is when it would be convenient to say the Suns did not pick Leonard because of an overabundance of rotation small forwards on the roster — Grant Hill, Jared Dudley and Josh Childress. …
But with a front office conducting its first draft in Phoenix, then-General Manager Lance Blanks’ staff did not have Leonard in the discussion. Part of the Suns’ knock on Leonard, beyond his perimeter shot, was how nervously he acted in a draft combine interview, when he sweated through his suit.
That's it, I'm calling timeout. I refuse to sit here silently while people criticize the Phoenix Suns for letting the gleam emanating from Kawhi Leonard's forehead blind them from seeing the versatility of the talent he possessed. I know it's fun to play the "what if?" game in regards to the draft, but let's not act like the body odor wafting from the pit stains of a middling prospect wasn't worthy of a 'Degree' of concern. I hate to throw an 'Axe' into this retrospective bashing of a former NBA front office member, but not even Kawhi Leonard thought he would be Kawhi Leonard in 2011.
I would agree that a struggling team should have done their due diligence and brought someone with a 7'3 wingspan in for a looksy, but swimming in your suit once the bright light hits you isn't what I would consider positive foreshadowing for a guy whose shooting was considered questionable. Obviously every team in the league would have gladly reinforced their janitorial staff if they knew that the interviewee who - by comparison - made Patrick Ewing look like a viable 'Old Spice' spokesperson was going to become an MVP candidate and the best two way player in the NBA. Unfortunately - as we should all know by now - not every team in the league is the San Antonio Spurs.
All due respect to Kawhi Leonard, but if he didn't fall into the all-knowing hands of Gregg Popovich then who is to say that he wouldn't currently be unnervingly sweating into perspiration buckets at the end of an NBA bench? The guy worked his ass off to be mentioned in the "what dumbass reason did you have for passing on him?" category, but he was also granted the perfect opportunity to mature into a player whose body now allows him to answer stupid questions without looking like he's eating ghost peppers in a sauna.