Kawhi Leonard is performing wonders for the Toronto Raptors, even helping guide them to the NBA Championship. However, it has recently transpired that the 27-year old almost had a different career path. Back when he was fresh out of college, the Phoenix Suns was an interested party.
It is no secret that the Phoenix Suns were notorious for questionable decisions, and the decision to pass up Kawhi Leonard was another one. As it turns out, they had a strange reason for not snapping him up immediately. According to them, the three-time NBA All-Star was ‘sweating through his suit in an interview’.
They justified themselves by saying that it was mostly viewed as a sign of nervousness. As a result, Markieff Morris got the nod ahead of Leonard as the 13th pick. In the end, Kawhi Leonard finally got his big break when the Toronto Raptors came knocking and he grabbed the opportunity with both hands.
According to NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman, “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.”
Needless to say, the Suns will likely be kicking themselves for letting a player like Kawhi Leonard slip through their fingers. This is because, they missed the NBA Playoffs for a ninth consecutive season.
They finished the 2018-19 NBA season with 19 wins to 63 losses, which was the franchise’s worst regular season record. Even a new head coach did little to boost them up the order and into a playoffs spot. To further rub salt in their wounds, they were also the first team to be eliminated. Injuries to six of their players made things even worse.