We’ll try again next year, Clips.

We’ll attempt once more subsequent 12 months, Clips.
Picture: Getty Pictures

After advancing to the Western Convention Finals for the first time final season, this 12 months has been an up and down wrestle for the Clippers with key gamers out and in of the lineup. Kawhi Leonard hasn’t performed a recreation but this season after tearing his ACL within the second spherical of the playoffs towards Utah final 12 months. And now the Clippers have discovered they could possibly be with out their different star participant, Paul George, for the rest of the 2021-22 marketing campaign.

In late December, George suffered a torn elbow ligament and has been sidelined ever since. The Clippers initially introduced that he’d be re-evaluated in three to 4 weeks, however now it feels like they might be with out PG-13 for the remainder of the 12 months.

With George’s status now up within the air, Kawhi Leonard’s return must also be pushed onto the again burner till the staff is aware of extra about PG’s standing. Bleacher Report reported final week that there’s a “robust risk” of Leonard returning to the Clippers roster this season.

Leonard’s return from the ACL damage isn’t prone to change the Clippers’ standing within the West with out George on the courtroom. They’re at the moment in seventh place, tied with the Lakers at 21-21. With George within the lineup, they have been capable of keep afloat within the prime six of the convention via December.

A Leonard return in March or April received’t be sufficient to jump-start this staff previous the highest groups within the western convention. Phoenix, Golden State, Memphis, and Utah are all higher than the Clippers. Kawhi coming again knocking the rust off over the primary couple of weeks received’t be sufficient for the Clippers to advance within the postseason.

Leonard’s damage historical past and the very fact he’s in no hurry to return till he feels he is 100% wholesome are effectively documented. So, even when Kawhi says he’s prepared, the Clippers ought to sit him down for the 12 months if George can’t return at close to 100% this season. So, if it appears to be like like George isn’t going to be again earlier than the top of March, then I’d go forward and shut each guys down and look to subsequent 12 months.

We;llKevin Durant might have returned from his Achilles damage through the 2019-20 pandemic 12 months as soon as the NBA despatched everybody to the Orlando bubble. KD opted to not rush something and continued sitting till the following season (lower than three months later), and he got here again at 100% and balled out. Leonard is just 30 and within the prime of his profession, though generally it appears like he’s already 35. When he’s proper and principally wholesome, Kawhi remains to be a top-five participant and a reasonably rattling good two-way participant.

Understanding Leonard’s historical past presents all of the extra purpose for LA to be cautious about his return as a result of we all know he’ll. And if George isn’t returning anytime quickly, there actually is not any purpose to press for a Leonard return. The Clippers don’t have any actual shot at beating the Suns or Warriors with out Kawhi and PG on the courtroom. Relying on the matchup, they may not get out of the primary spherical with out each gamers. I do know followers hate listening to this, however each gamers have an extended historical past of dangerous accidents at this level, and even pondering dashing both man again simply to get bounced within the first spherical appears preposterous.

This Clippers squad lastly broke via final 12 months and received bit by the damage bug within the course of with Leonard taking place towards Utah. That appears to have carried over into this season with George now being out for an prolonged interval. We should always know extra about each gamers within the coming weeks, but when I needed to guess I’d say we most likely received’t see the Leonard-George tandem once more for fairly some time. That call may be what’s finest for Ballmer’s enterprise proper now.


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