Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue recently appeared on the #thisleague UNCUT podcast and said that star wings Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are both on track to be 100 percent healthy for the start of the team’s training camp.
“They’re both on track to be 100 percent by the time training camp starts, and that’s what we need,” Lue said. “You know, our best players will be healthy, and we’ve just been in an unfortunate situation where our two best players (haven’t had) a full season together the last three years and that’s been tough on us.”
He averaged 23.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game in 52 appearances with the Clippers during the 2022-23 regular season (50 starts). Leonard shot the ball very efficiently, too, as he converted 51.2 percent of his field-goal attempts and 41.6 percent of his three-point attempts.
Meanwhile, George, 33, was selected with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft and has played for three teams — the Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Clippers — in his 13 seasons in the NBA. He averaged 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game in 56 games played with Los Angeles during the 2022-23 regular season (all starts).
Those numbers were good enough for George to earn an All-Star nod, the eighth of his pro career.
But while George and Leonard both enjoyed productive regular seasons, injuries prevented them from making the impacts they could have in the Clippers’ 2023 first-round playoff series against Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and the Phoenix Suns.
Leonard played just two games in the series, while George didn’t log a single minute of playing time for Los Angeles. In the games that Leonard was healthy enough to play in, though, he starred for the Clippers. The 6-foot-7 wing averaged 34.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game for the series and even helped lead Los Angeles to a Game 1 road victory over the Suns.
Game 1 proved to be the only win the Clippers would earn during the series, however, because the Suns eliminated them in five games.
Hopefully, Leonard and George will be able to stay healthy during the 2023-24 regular season as their Clippers careers to this point have been marred by the injury bug.