Los Angeles Clippers and specially Kawhi Leonard disappointed their fans after their famous 3-1 collapse by the Denver Nuggets in the playoff semi-final last season. Kawhi Leonard suggests that he is ever so motivated to bounce back on the court and lead the team from the front. There was absolutely no doubt that Clippers were one of the favourites to lift the trophy but horrendous performances from their marquee players led them to the exit.
Having Kawhi Leonard and Paul George fit and healthy from the last would be vital for the Clippers. Plus, they have also added Serge Ibaka in their roster, who can balance their defense well giving their marquee players time to rest. Paul George and Leonard discussed their team’s downfall in the previous season and how the team wants to lift up the spirit of the fans in the 2020-21 season.
“Last year was unacceptable for me” Paul George
“Physically, I feel good,” Leonard said as per ESPN. “I am motivated. I want to start, I want to get back after it. It does leave a bad taste in your mouth blowing a 3-1 lead. But I love it. These are things that build the player. It’s the things that I like, the challenge. The road of going to a championship is hard. I love the process.”
“We’ll see how strong we are and if we can build from things like this. That is what makes players.”
The Clippers believe that having Leonard and George healthy and participating from the start of training camp this season will make a difference after their chemistry struggles last season. Leonard revealed for the first time that he underwent an unspecified procedure during the offseason in 2019 and that that is why he and George, who was coming off offseason shoulder surgeries, were not able to fully participate in camp last preseason.
George said “I wasn’t myself” during his first season with the Clippers but said he feels much more comfortable after being able to train this offseason.
“Last year was an unacceptable year for me, and I know that,” said George, who averaged 20.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 39.8% shooting in the playoffs. “[This season] I feel really good, in a great place.”
“Doc is a hell of a motivator, a hell of a coach,” George added. “Doesn’t mean I agree with everything that we did, but that does not belittle the fact that I respect him. … I did want to clear it up, because the notion out there is that I don’t respect Doc and putting the blame on Doc, which is not the case. I am to blame in that situation just as much as anyone.”
Lastly Leonard added, “But my leadership role isn’t going to change. I’m just going to keep doing the same thing I’ve been doing.”