Days before the start of training camps across the NBA, the Los Angeles Clippers and their fans are feeling good about their chances this coming season.
The team has been pegged as one of the favorites to win the world championship, and in the minds of some, they’re the favorite to win it all.
In fact, an ESPN survey of coaches, scouts and executives across the league revealed that, among those surveyed, the Clippers are the clear title favorites.
The most common reason given by Clippers boosters is their star duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, as well as their abundance of other two-way wings.
However, there are several potential pitfalls that could prevent Los Angeles from hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy next summer, and the biggest one is injuries.
Leonard and George are injury-prone, and ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne gave Clippers fans a reality check in that department.
The Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis‘ is often derided for being injury-prone, but Shelburne pointed out that Leonard and George have been just as bad in that regard.
Wild stat here by @ramonashelburne regarding Anthony Davis being more available than Paul George & Kawhi Leonard 🤯#LakeShow #ClipperNation pic.twitter.com/v9gRMP8zXA
— 𝙏𝙖𝙡𝙠𝙞𝙣’ 𝙉𝘽𝘼 (@_Talkin_NBA) September 20, 2022
“I know Anthony Davis has this reputation for not being available,” Shelburne said. “Charles Barkley calls him street clothes. He’s played in more games since 2019 than either Kawhi Leonard or Paul George. AD played 138, Kawhi played 102, Paul George played 133.”
Clippers Fans Shouldn’t Count On Leonard Or George Being Available Most Of The Time
Fans of the Clippers will likely point out that Shelburne’s claim is skewed because Leonard missed all of last season due to a partially torn ACL.
However, that’s just the beginning of the problem.
Leonard has multiple chronic injury concerns, including quad tendinopathy that some have called a degenerative condition.
He has to miss one out of every few games for “load management” in order to keep it from flaring up.
Prior to last season, Leonard has missed 22, 15 and 20 games, respectively, during his previous three campaigns.
Even when he won the 2019 championship as a member of the Toronto Raptors, some remarked that it looked like he was playing on one good leg during their title run.
There is also the matter of how well Leonard will play following a serious injury such as an ACL tear, especially considering his other health concerns.
Then there is the matter of Paul George’s health.
In his three years with the Clippers, he hasn’t played in even 55 games in a season, let alone a full 82 or close to it.
In addition, George has continued to be an inconsistent and unreliable performer come playoff time.
Paul George was DANGEROUS
11 Pts 🔥🔥
2-14 FG 😤😤
1-8 3PT 💦💦
2 TO 🔐🔐
38 Mins 💯
Went from Playoff P to Pandemic P 🔥pic.twitter.com/HGjVe0T2jF pic.twitter.com/1pAviw0x1i
— 𝘉𝘙𝘠 ⁶ 𝘔𝘖𝘕𝘛𝘈𝘕𝘈 ²³ 👑 (@BryMontana) August 22, 2020
A team such as the Clippers probably won’t win the NBA championship if it has its two main stars miss significant playing time during the regular season, especially with several new rotation players who must build chemistry with those two stars.
This isn’t even considering other concerns fans should have for the team, such as a lack of size and depth at the center position and the fact that it is counting on an apparently washed-up John Wall to be its missing piece at the point guard position.NEXT: Kawhi Leonard Is Hitting The Gym Hard