ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith offered the information during a discussion on “First Take” about how the Clippers could improve after a disappointing 2019-20 campaign.
“They clearly need a point guard,” Stephen A. Smith said. “Everybody knows it, and Kawhi Leonard privately has clamored for one.
“It’s not that he wants them to get rid of Patrick Beverley, but Patrick Beverley is basically a defensive ace who’s small and has to play opposing guards. So they need a point guard that can run a team and can shoot.”
The Clippers were expected to make a strong effort to win the 2020 NBA title but watched their hopes disappear in the Western Conference semifinals.
In their semifinals series, the Clippers held a 3-1 advantage over the Denver Nuggets. They subsequently lost the next three games to conclude their season in embarrassing fashion.
Beverley is one of the NBA’s top defenders but has never been a playmaker, averaging just 3.5 assists per game over the course of his eight years in the league.
Leonard completed his first year with the Clippers after having signed with the team as a free agent last year. In the veteran’s previous stops in San Antonio and Toronto, he thrived when his team displayed strong ball movement.
Whether or not Smith’s information is fully accurate is open to debate, given his penchant for stoking controversy. One fact that does remain is that Leonard has been a part of title teams with two different franchises and would surely like to complete his personal hat trick as a member of the Clippers.