Injuries to their star players marred the Los Angeles Clippers 2021-22 season. Their two top players, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, combined to play just 31 games, and all those games were from George. Both players hope to stay healthy this season, with the ultimate goal being to win a title.
George is OK with taking a backseat to Kawhi
George has been a steadying force for the Clippers with Leonard missing the entire 2021-22 season. Injuries hampered him, but Los Angeles looked like a dangerous team last season when he was healthy. Even with George missing more than half of the season, the Clippers still made it to the Play-In Tournament, although they didn't earn a playoff spot.
With Leonard back now, many were interested to see how he would collaborate with George after George took on a bigger role in his absence. But George has made it clear that he's OK with Leonard taking control in his return. George even went as far as to say that he is the number two option on the Clippers, while Leonard is the number one option, ensuring that egos won't collide in their return to action this season.
George's mentality for the 2021-22 season could be just what the Clippers need
The Clippers have some big egos on their roster heading into the upcoming season, and that could make for some difficult times if they struggle. After all, Leonard and George have recently missed a lot of time, and the third potential star on their team, John Wall, has only played in 40 games over the past three seasons. Some may look for George to take on a bigger role if they get off to a slow start.
But George insists that won't be the case and makes it clear that he is OK with letting Leonard take the lead role for Los Angeles. Leonard was one of the top players in the NBA the last time he was on the court, and while it may take some time for him to shake off his rust, there's a decent chance he will return to his former glory. If that's the case, L.A. would be foolish to kick Leonard to the curb.
How Leonard and George will perform together after they didn't touch the court together last season will play a huge role in the Clippers' upcoming campaign. If they can settle into their roles, as George mentions here, chances are Los Angeles will have a great bounce-back campaign. But if they struggle to play with each, it could be another long season in L.A. for the Clippers.