Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard (2) heads to the other end of the court during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2022, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Allison Dinner)

Clippers in Position to Succeed

Despite playing in just five games this season, the return of Kawhi Leonard will prove to be monumental for the Los Angeles Clippers. Leonard missed all of last season due to a partially torn ACL but has returned at a limited capacity.

How Important Leonard Is

After guiding the Toronto Raptors to their first championship in franchise history in 2019, Leonard made his way back home, signing a mega contract with the Clippers. After leading the team to the Western Conference Finals in his first year, the injury bug hit.

Leonard is a five-time all-star and was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons in 2015 and 2016.

Pairing Leonard with Paul George seemed like a recipe for success. George’s prowess on the wing is a match made in heaven for Leonard. Leonard’s offensive game revolves around the basket with some mid-range jumpers sprinkled in. The contrast of their games should create solid spacing.

Injuries to Leonard, George and the newly acquired Norman Powell essentially turned the past season into a crash course. 

Key Pieces

Powell, Leonard’s teammate when the Raptors won in 2019, has been an integral part of this team. Since becoming a Clipper, Powell has averaged a career-high 21 points per game. Despite being injured for most of last season, he and Leonard demonstrate clear on-court chemistry with each other. 

The addition of Powell provides Leonard and George with another high-volume scorer they can lean on in their starting lineup. 

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Perhaps the most crucial, and understated addition came when the Clippers picked up John Wall. Wall, a five-time All-Star, missed nearly two years due to an Achilles injury that was ultimately re-injured. In the Clippers most recent contest against the Utah Jazz, Wall tallied 26 points. 

The Clippers record currently sits at 13-10, and they are just three games behind the top spot in the Western Conference.

About Tyler Carmona

Tyler Carmona is a junior journalism major at the University of Florida. Originally from Miami, Tyler played football as a wide receiver at the University of St. Francis before transferring to UF.

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