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Why 'Leadership' is the Most Overrated Player Trait in the NBA

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Jason Smith: “I can’t believe general managers put this much stock into ‘leadership’ when it comes to the elite players in the NBA. LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard are not paid to lead, they’re paid to produce. A ‘star’ is the player who takes over games and takes the big shots at the end of the games, and because of their talent, opens things up on the rest of the floor for other players to play well. That’s LEADERSHIP in the NBA. Michael Jordan wasn’t a great leader, he was just a phenomenal player who elevated the supporting cast around him.”

Listen to Jason Smith comment on a recent column penned by Bleacher Report writer and notable NBA Insider Ric Bucher that quoted NBA executives around the league criticizing two-time Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard’s leadership skills in a somewhat damning article to the average fan reading it.

Bucher quoted one GM saying ‘Kawhi is great, but he doesn’t elevate anyone or rally his team’ and another saying ‘He’s obviously not vocal and he’s not a galvanizer.’

Smith says the idea of ‘leadership’ in the NBA among its most elite stars is one of the worst told narratives in the game of the basketball, and says the game’s best players aren’t paid to lead, they’re paid to win.

Check out the audio below as Smith explains why teams don’t win NBA Finals championships because their best players are leaders, they win championships because they emphatically produce on the stat sheet, take the big shots at the end of the game, and elevate their teammates around them because of the attention the opposing defenses draw to them.

Why 'Leadership' in the NBA is Overrated