Former Spurs star seems to drag Gregg Popovich

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

He might have only played with the San Antonio Spurs for two years, but the always boisterous Stephen Jackson seems to have a lot of opinions about the franchise.

Jackson’s most-recent take includes his opinion that the Spurs held Kawhi Leonard back prior to the All-Star being dealt to the Toronto Raptors last year. It’s a pretty crazy opinion.

“He (Leonard) kind of gravitated to me because he seen that I was an outsider when I was there,” Jackson said on ESPN’s The Jump. “He felt that same type of way. He didn’t want to go down that straight path like the rest of the Spurs players.”

Jackson is obviously talking about the Gregg Popovich way of doing things in San Antonio. Popovich has been among the most successful coaches in NBA history in large part because of the culture he’s built in San Antonio.

According to Jackson, who played with Leonard for the forward’s first two NBA seasons, that culture held the current Raptors star back.

“I knew he was being held back in San Antonio. I was held back my first two years there,” Jackson continued. “I knew he was being held back and I knew that he can do these things. We’re talking about a Finals MVP. Going to Toronto was great for him.”

There is something to be said about this. Leonard has been downright dominant during the Raptors’ current playoff run. He’s averaging 31.2 points and 8.2 rebounds on 57% shooting.

Even then, throwing an underhanded shot at a man that’s won five NBA titles and led his team to 22 consecutive NBA Playoff appearances seems to be a bit disingenuous.