Tyronn Lue wants Paul George and Kawhi Leonard to take the regular season seriously

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue wants stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to take the regular season seriously in the 2023-24 campaign.

The Clippers have been a solid team in the George-Leonard era, but the team has yet to make it to the NBA Finals.

Part of that is out of the two star players’ control, as they’ve dealt with injuries that have kept them out of the lineup.

Since taking over as the Clippers’ head coach, Lue has coached the team to a 133-103 regular season record and 11-13 playoff record.

In the 2020-21 season, Lue’s first as Los Angeles’ head coach, the Clippers made the Western Conference Finals, but they ended up losing to the Phoenix Suns. That’s the furthest the team has gone in the playoffs since signing Leonard and trading for George.

The Clippers didn’t have superstar Kawhi Leonard in that series against Phoenix, as he tore his ACL in the team’s previous series against the Utah Jazz.

During the 2021-22 season, Leonard was held out for the entire campaign, and George was in and out of the lineup with injuries. He ended up missing the team’s second play-in game that season, and the team lost to miss the playoffs.

The 2022-23 season brought more of the same in the injury department. George appeared in 56 games for the Clippers but missed the team’s playoff series against Phoenix with an injury.

Leonard was injured during that series, and he only played in 52 games during the regular season. The Clippers still finished the 2022-23 season with the No. 5 seed, but it led to them matching up with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and company in the first round.

Lue clearly wants to avoid a similar fate in the 2023-24 season. Los Angeles has enough talent to be one of the best teams in the NBA, but health has clearly hindered the team’s ability to reach its ceiling.

Since joining the Clippers, George hasn’t played more than 56 games in a regular season and Leonard hasn’t played more than 57.

It’s possible that both Leonard and George will attempt to suit up more often in the 2023-24 season, but that will come down to whether or not both players can stay healthy.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.