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"Look at the wing-wing DWade and LeBron" — LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are the model Paul George and Kawhi Leonard have in mind

Clippers star Paul George draws inspiration from Dwyane Wade as he takes a back seat to Kawhi Leonard.
Miami Heat small forward LeBron James and Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade; Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard and Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George

The Los Angeles Clippers are looking to bounce back this season as they anticipate the return of star Kawhi Leonard, who did not play the entire 2021-22 campaign due to a knee injury.

Paul George is expected to form a formidable one-two punch with the two-time NBA champion. However, he has publicly gone on record to say that Leonard is the No. 1 option. George even compared himself to Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade.

"Yeah, look at the wing-wing DWade and LeBron [James]," George said Sunday after his team's preseason game versus the Minnesota Timberwolves. "I think it just comes down to -- listen, Kawhi is the No. 1. And I am totally fine with that. I think I try to complement him with being able to take the load off of him."

Wade's sacrifice

Heat fans will remember how successful that James-Wade pairing was. During the four seasons they played together, Miami went to the Finals every time and won two titles. Of course, the team also boasted of another star in Chris Bosh.

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But for the team to work, Wade needed to take a step back and allow James to be the top dog. To wit, the 6-foot-4 shooting guard had been averaging 25.4 points, and 6.6 assists per game before James arrived. In their four campaigns together, Wade's numbers fell to 22.2 points and 4.7 assists per match.

Even so, Wade was likely content with how everything played out because he has a couple more championship rings to show for it. In addition, the Heat players then did seem like they were having a fun time with each other.

Are Clippers championship contenders?

When Leonard and George teamed up in 2019, people around the league were expecting the Clippers could fight for the NBA title regularly. After all, the team has two of the best wing players in the sport, and Leonard was fresh off a championship campaign with the Toronto Raptors.

The duos' first professional game as teammates was everything Clippers fans could ask for.

Unfortunately, injuries have gotten in the way of their quest to help the Clips raise their first championship banner. Still, when both are healthy, Kawhi and PG have shown the Clippers enter every game with the expectation to win. The key part here being "when both are healthy." 

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