The fate of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George got locked with one another in 2019. They joined the LA Clippers, making them the clear favorites to lift the championship. However, things did not click, and the Clippers blew their chances in the playoffs.
Now, both men are eligible for their free agencies in the 2021 off-season. This can be unsettling for the organization which has been trying to put together the best pieces in the roster for so long. The fact that both Kawhi and PG are based out of Los Angeles makes them an even more important prospect. But all these good things are far from perfect.
Popular NBA Insider, Ramona Shelbourne detailed in an interview, “Your leader cannot be your coach, the loudest voice in the room can not be your coach, it has to be somebody on the court… In this off-season, they need to acquire a true point guard, somebody who can bring a leadership ability because Kawhi Leonard missed that Kyle Lowry type point guard.
“Kawhi Leonard is not LeBron James, he can’t slide over and say, ‘oh we don’t have a real point guard, I’ll do it’, that’s not his game either.”
The Clippers have Patrick Beverley as a point guard, who has been consistently starting for them. However, Patrick has shown a huge decline in his performance in the past two seasons, where he averaged around 7.7 points per game.
Talking about the leadership skills of Kawhi, it is not in his character to be like Bron or MJ and lead a team out of trouble. He is a consistent performer, but he still needs someone else to take the burden of the leadership role from him. Lastly, they struggled big time with an inconsistent PG, and hence they have to have a new point guard.
As Ramona detailed, “I think they ought to have a sense of urgency. I know Paul George said it to you, Rachel, I remember him saying when he literally joined the team, ‘I want to retire a Clipper that’s the plan.’ … [for] Kawhi Leonard I’ll be a little concerned if they had a terrible year this year, he could leave.”
So for the Clippers, this approaching season will be do-or-die. They have Montrezl Harrell, Marcus Morris Sr. and Reggie Jackson potentially entering the unrestricted free agency this year. With this, if they fail to land a veteran like Chris Paul or Rajon Rondo, the issues from the last year can just put themselves on repeat.
So, this off-season is equally critical to the Clippers as it is for many other teams, if not more.
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