Leonard has been the victim of multiple serious injuries throughout his career but the latest was the worst.
He sat out all of 2021-22 because of an ACL injury.
Fans of the team were elated at the prospect of Leonard coming back in 2022-23 – he was the missing piece that could lead the squad to the promised land of the Finals.
But so far, he’s been pretty much a no-show, playing in only 5 games.
Clippers this season:
— 4th in defensive rating
— 28th in offensive rating
— Kawhi out 18 games
— PG out 7 games
Still 5th in the West. pic.twitter.com/28sYDRHj5q
— StatMuse (@statmuse) December 1, 2022
Despite losing Leonard for longer than expected, the Clippers aren’t down and out.
The team is 4th in defensive rating, 28th in offensive rating, and still the 5th team in the West even though they haven’t been able to rely on Leonard much at all.
This is bittersweet for the Clippers: yes, they are doing better than expected without Leonard but imagine how great they’d be if he was fully healthy and playing regularly.
Can Clippers Compete?
If the playoffs started today, the Clippers would make the cut but it’s not clear how far they’d get.
But the team would probably be legitimate Finals contenders if Leonard was in good shape and suited up.
If Leonard gets better later this season, the sky is the limit.
But if he doesn’t, one wonders what’s ahead for the Clippers: will the front office keep this team intact or will they throw in the towel, give up on this roster, and start over again?