(WATCH) ESPN's Stephen A. Smith: For the Spurs it's Kawhi Leonard or nothing
ESPN's Stephen A. Smith usually isn't on the San Antonio Spurs band wagon. He does give them a nod from time-to-time, respects Coach Gregg Popovich but he doesn't wear Silver and Black.
So it may come to a bit of a surprise that he picks Spurs' Kawhi Leonard as his early favorite to win the league MVP.
He points to the makeup of the roster and feels San Antonio's hopes heading into next season rests on Leonard. In other words, it's Kawhi or nothing for the Spurs.
"What do you have in San Antonio? You got Gregg Popovich but as a player, it's Kawhi Leonard or nothing and that's what this comes down to."
"We know San Antonio is going to be one of the top 2 or 3 teams in the West if not the entire NBA. We know that Kawhi Leonard is going to be primarily responsible for it."
"It's going to come down to Kawhi, and everyone is going to recognize that and I'm picking Kawhi Leonard as my preseason favorite for league MVP."
Are there questions concerning the Spurs heading into the new season? Absolutely.
Will Tony Parker be healthy enough to make an impact on the team once he comes back? Can Dejounte Murray step his game up and hold down the point guard spot if he gets the starting job? Will Rudy Gay be the same player or at least close to it pre-Achilles injury? Will LaMarcus Aldridge rebound from his less-than-stellar second season in San Antonio? Is Kawhi fully healthy heading into the new season?
But if any team in the Association that can mesh players into a machine and get the job done is San Antonio.
Time after time the Spurs are counted out, only to see them once again fighting for an NBA crown.
Smith giving the nod to Kawhi as NBA MVP is nice but for him to count out the rest of the roster may be a bit premature.
Let them play first.