After missing all of the 2022 campaign due to a torn right ACL, Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers fanbase were ecstatic about his return to action at the beginning of this season. Unfortunately, the human body has a way of naturally compensating for strength and weakness in different areas when an important ligament is injured, thus making the person susceptible to more injuries on the road to recovery.
This theory has proven to be correct for The Klaw, preventing him from playing full-time so far this season. Due to the team’s appearance in the Western Conference Finals in 2021, the Clippers’ fans were willing to forgive last year’s absence from the postseason. After all, they were forced to play the play-in game without both Leonard and Paul George.
No one could blame the team for finishing the regular season two games above.500 but failing to qualify for the playoffs after going a full season without their best player and de facto leader catching COVID at the worst possible time. When the smoke cleared, it was certainly a valiant effort.
The Los Angeles Clippers started this season with high expectations. There is still plenty of time for them to right the ship and change the narrative.
However, the injury bug has once again plagued the Clippers this season and prevented them from becoming the Western Conference contenders that many pundits projected them to be. Leonard has only appeared in five out of a possible twenty games to this point in the season. George has missed four games as well. With the team off to an unspectacular start of eleven wins and nine losses, it is fair to wonder: will the Clippers ever contend for the Western Conference title?
Basketball fans have believed for a long time in the mantra that the 82-game regular season is a marathon, not a sprint. With that in mind, there is a lot of basketball left to be played and plenty of time for the Clippers to turn things around before the playoffs. Let’s take a closer look at what the team must do in order to win more games and qualify for this year’s postseason.