The Clippers are 5-2, looking as dominant as expected. Hard to believe, but Kawhi is a bit better than last year with 29.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game. As he said before the season, Kawhi won’t be on such a strict load management program as he was with the Raptors, but he will still have DNP rests.
Doc Rivers is also getting acquainted with Kawhi and his game, but as Doc pointed out, Kawhi is a very intelligent player, so it wasn’t that hard to introduce him to Clippers basketball. This is the silver lining in Paul George’s injury – you get to integrate one superstar at a time.
When it comes to Kawhi’s load management, Doc said he has no say in the matter. The player performance department makes an assessment of Kawhi’s condition, and a decision is made. The Clippers need him in May and June, not necessarily November. Doc added he doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about (via ESPN):
“People forget, back when I was in Boston, we went on a three-game road trip, and I left the Big Three at home. We didn’t call it
loadmanagement; we just told them to get some rest. I don’t worry about it as much. It’s part of the league now.“
Doc ended his opinion on the matter, saying it’s important and that he will always air on the side of protecting player health. Another lesson that history repeats itself and that with the knowledge we have today, it would be foolish to ignore the data.