The Los Angeles Clippers organization and fans have been ecstatic ever since acquiring Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and MVP candidate Paul George. Today, they officially became members of the franchise after being formally introduced on Wednesday.
Both Leonard and George started their speeches by thanking their former teams, Toronto and OKC, for embracing them during their time spent.
Since all the formalities are over and George and Leonard are officially Clippers, it’s time to dig into what this duo could mean for the NBA.
Whether a title is won or not, the success this duo will have will speak volumes to the NBA and will set a new precedent for teams. Having a dynamic duo that are two-way talents like George and Leonard to pair with two defensive Pitbulls in Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell will prove to be incredibly beneficial and will claim a new day in the NBA.
The culture has been defined, and a standard has been set by the Golden State Warriors by the way they’ve run things offensively. They’ve posted all-time high offensive ratings over the past few years and the entire NBA has tried to match that. Since their dynasty has seemed to cool off, at least for a season with Kevin Durant’s departure and Klay Thompson’s injury, that leaves the door open for the defensive duo in Los Angeles to change the way basketball is played in the league.
The only reason why the Clippers aren’t favorites to win the NBA title is potential injury problems. George has had bad luck with injuries over his nine-year career and so has Leonard. While George hasn’t missed many games over the past four seasons (13), he dealt with a shoulder injury last season with Oklahoma City that spoiled the Thunder’s chances to make a run in the playoffs. He’ll be entering his first season with the Clippers coming off two shoulder surgeries. Two shoulder surgeries right before George’s 30th birthday does not look promising, especially considering his declined athleticism after his gruesome injury in 2014. George was a 38.6 percent three-point shooter last year and turned into an MVP candidate in the process.
While I’m not sure PG will be able to capitalize on the season he had last season after two shoulder surgeries, I do think his defense will remain the same, as will Kawhi’s, which will be exciting enough to remind the NBA what it’s like to be just as strong defensively as they are offensively.