Even after more than four months on hiatus, the Los Angeles Clippers are not planning to push All-Star Kawhi Leonard as the NBA season restarts.
Leonard said he is healthy and treated the break like an offseason. Last summer, Leonard went from Toronto to the Clippers in a free agent tour that wrapped in July. By late September, he was already in training camp with the Clippers.
Head coach Doc Rivers said Leonard has “no limits” in the team’s eight seeding games before the playoffs begin.
“Kawhi is healthy for the most part. That still doesn’t mean that we don’t want to maintain him and get him through the first eight games and get ready for the playoffs. We want to be smart about this,” Rivers said.
Leonard is averaging a career-best 26.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists in his first season with the Clippers. He arrived to the Walt Disney World Resort, where all 22 NBA teams with a chance for the playoffs are housed, a few days after his teammates to handle a personal matter.
The Clippers (44-20) are fighting for top position in the Western Conference.
Leonard said he’s “excited” despite the notion that the 2019-2020 season isn’t going to crown a “normal” champion.
“This is just the layout of this year,” Leonard said. “Just pretty much stay focused. It’s not like a regular NBA season. Nobody’s life is pretty much how they planned it to be at this point with the pandemic, so I mean, you take it for what it is. Everybody is happy that a (champion) will be crowned this year, and if that’s the 2020 championship, then we want it. You know, that’s how I look at it. This is what the layout is, as far as to go out there and complete this journey.”
–Field Level Media