The NBA is inching closer to the 2019-20 season’s restart, with all 22 teams now being located in the Orlando bubble situation. The conversation shifts over to the teams with the best title chances with the LA Clippers moving to the top of that discussion. That has brought forth attention on Kawhi Leonard guiding the franchise to their first championship. One aspect of his situation should have other NBA teams feeling a bit worried about their chances to reach that ultimate goal.
Kawhi Leonard’s first season with Clippers
Leonard’s play has backed up that notion as he’s put forth another impressive campaign as he’s leading the team with 26.9 points while posting a career-best 5.0 assists. The reigning Finals MVP alongside Paul George has helped guide their incredibly deep squad to one of the league’s best records.
He has shown every reason to believe that the Clippers can genuinely contend for an NBA title behind their continued success. Things were paused for a few months, but LA is in position to put forth a serious championship bid, and it all starts with Leonard.
Kawhi Leonard may finally be healthy
Throughout the last couple of years, the questions around Kawhi Leonard have circled his health. That has been a consistent question around him even in his first campaign with the Clippers involving not playing in back-to-back sets.
However, things look to have taken a promising turn as the extended layoff has allowed Leonard like the rest of the league much needed physical rest. According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, head coach Doc Rivers has voiced that Leonard won’t have any limitations and is healthy for the most part.
“I don’t know that yet,” Rivers said of Leonard’s limitations with minutes and back-to-backs. “But no limits. Kawhi is healthy, for the most part. That still doesn’t mean that we don’t want to maintain him and get him through the first eight games and get ready for the playoffs. We want to be smart about this. Not just for Kawhi. It’s with everybody.
“But having everybody healthy was more about training camp. I mean, we really did not have a great training camp because we didn’t have enough bodies and enough of our key guys practicing. We have a virtually new team so we needed our new guys to be on the floor, and we didn’t have that ability to do that. This time, for the most part, we’ll have everybody in.”
There is much to take away from these comments, but it does show that the Clippers are finally in a better place physically then they have been all season heading into the Orlando Bubble. They have been hampered by injuries to Leonard, George, and various other players on the team.
LA may finally have their star players healthy, but they want to continue to operate smartly with how they approach their workload. Leonard and George will be at the forefront of all that.
Clippers eyeing potential title run
The top overall spot in the Western Conference may be almost out of the picture with the eight-game regular season remaining played in the Orlando Bubble, but the team is in a promising place.
It’s a spot where Kawhi Leonard’s presence could make a world of difference in the playoffs. He put that on display in last year’s postseason as he put the Toronto Raptors on his back to carry them to an NBA title. Leonard should have more help this time around in LA, with arguably the deepest roster in the league.
There will be formidable challenges in the Western Conference headlined by the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks, who have beat them in both instances this year, could be the likely NBA Finals opponent. The table is set for the Clippers led by Leonard to reach the mountain top finally.