Shams: Kawhi Leonard, Paul George Still Committed to Playing Together in LA
When the LA Clippers brought in both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George last summer, the idea was that they'd be around for the long run and carry the team to at least one NBA title. The first year of their partnership obviously didn't go according to plan, with LA losing in the second round, but that hasn't changed their plans.
According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, despite blowing a 3-1 lead in this year's NBA Playoffs, Leonard and George are still committed to playing together in Los Angeles. Moreover, Charania reports that the team left the bubble feeling dejected, but optimistic about the 2021 season.
Obviously, this is great news for Clippers fans, as Leonard and George are two of the best players in the league. And while the duo definitely struggled in their Game 7 loss to the Denver Nuggets, it's quite the stretch to say that both had a disappointing series.
Coming into Game 7, George was averaging 23.7 points, 5.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists against the Nuggets and hitting at a 43% clip from three-point range. Leonard was equally impressive through Game 6, posting averages of 26.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.3 steals while shooting above 47% from the field.
The two combined to score just 24 points in Game 7, but they weren't the only players to have an off night. Marcus Morris and Lou Williams combined to shoot 5-of-20 from the field, Ivica Zubac picked up three early fouls and played just 14 minutes, and Doc Rivers made some more head-scratching decisions with his rotations.
With that said, the pressure will be on Leonard and George to carry the team to new heights in 2021 — as well as the Clippers' front office. Both could opt-out of their current contracts and sign elsewhere after the season, which would make this whole experiment a colossal failure.
For now, though, LA needs to focus on surrounding its two stars with more talent and making this a more cohesive group. If that doesn't happen, the Clippers could be heading for another disappointing postseason.