Raptors coach Nick Nurse admits Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard only cared about winning
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Clippers and Toronto Raptors faced off on Monday night at Staples Center. For Kawhi Leonard, it was his first time taking on Nick Nurse and the Raptors, the team he helped lead to the 2019 NBA championship.
Prior to the Clippers’ 98-88 victory, Raptors head coach Nick Nurse addressed the media regarding facing Leonard and his new team. Among the things Nurse was asked was a moment of his that stood out over others aside from the NBA title.
“There were a lot of them,” Nurse said. “I had some really really interesting cool one on one kind of meetings with him where I got some insight on who he was as a player and a person which i don’t think I’ll ever forget.”
When asked to elaborate, Nurse highlighted the winning mentality that Kawhi displayed at all times.
“They were just things about getting to know his makeup,” said Nurse. “I just thought it was really interesting how he always talked about, all he really cared about, was playing, staying healthy, playing for a long time, and winning.”
“We’d have conversations where I was like, ‘You could’ve had 40 last night,’ and he’s like, ‘Oh, I don’t care about that. He goes, ‘Coach, we gotta get the win, we gotta get better, and it’s a good team and that’s all I’m about.'”
From San Antonio to Toronto and now Los Angeles, Kawhi Leonard’s approach to the game never changes. It’s strictly business for the two-time Finals MVP, who is looking to earn his third with his third team this year.
“I just thought it was really cool for him to just put [winning a title] as his sole focus for what he was doing.”
We may only be 10 games into the season, but the Clippers have already seen firsthand what Leonard brings both on and off the court. Head coach Doc Rivers admitted he hasn’t been around Leonard long yet, but has noticed what he has that not many players do.
“He has an incredible will,” said Rivers. “I don’t know what it is, but his determination is like, ‘I’m gonna go get the win.’ What I love about him and several of our guys is he plays the game to win. He has the ability to get by what’s happened during the game, because if it’s closing time, he has the ability to focus, and you can see him doing that.”