Kawhi Leonard Rumors: Clippers Star Making 'Efforts' on Attitude, Leadership

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 2, 2021

Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard, left, is defended by Utah Jazz forward Royce O'Neale during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Los Angeles, Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)
Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

After past criticism about getting star treatment with the Los Angeles Clippers, Kawhi Leonard has reportedly taken on a different mindset in 2020-21.

"I've definitely seen a change in Kawhi's attitude. He's playing in back-to-backs, he's showing more leadership based on everything you hear," ESPN's Brian Windhorst said on The Hoop Collective (36:00). "... From what I can tell and what I've been told, there's efforts being made on that end."

Though Leonard has missed some time due to injury, including a recent leg contusion, the forward has mostly stayed in the lineup this season and is averaging a career-high 34.7 minutes per game. 

This comes after reported locker room issues in 2019-20 stemming from Leonard and Paul George getting extra perks in their first year with the organization. According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, teammates believed the two stars were able to pick and choose when they played, and they both had control over practice schedules.

Leonard averaged a career-high 27.1 points per game last season, but he wasn't able to help the Clippers advance beyond the second round of the playoffs.

The 29-year-old has performed well again in 2020-21, averaging 26.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists on the way to his fifth All-Star selection. It's been enough to keep the Clippers among the top contenders in the Western Conference at 24-12 with two games left before the All-Star break.

There are still questions about the squad's ability to make a deep playoff run, especially with the disappointing efforts in the clutch.

Los Angeles was held scoreless over the final four minutes of a 105-100 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday. The team also has multiple close losses to quality opponents, including two against the Brooklyn Nets.

Leonard has two NBA titles in his career, but he must find a way to get the Clippers over the top in the postseason.