Doc Rivers embraces Clippers being NBA title favorites with Kawhi Leonard, Paul George

USA Today Sports 1 month ago

LOS ANGELES – He has spent part of his summer enjoying the culinary delights that this cosmopolitan city has to offer. Rarely has Doc Rivers had to pay a cent.

The reason? The Los Angeles Clippers spent last summer landing Kawhi Leonard (as a free agent) and Paul George (in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder). Therefore, the Clippers have the chance to win an NBA championship in a city that has loved the Lakers more.

“I got a couple of free meals out of it,” Rivers joked recently. “You also know if you don’t win it, you have (to) pay for the rest of them.”

The 29 other NBA teams would love to make Rivers pay for his tabs once again. Rivers seems partly driven by not needing to pick up the check again.

“I’m not going to be out in the front saying we’re going to win it. But I’m fine if that’s what everybody thinks,” Rivers said. “Why run from expectations? I’ve never understood that.”

The Clippers appear in prime position to win their first NBA title in franchise history, and the reasons go beyond the acquisitions of Leonard and George. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has deep pockets. Clippers general manager Lawrence Frank and legendary consultant Jerry West are well respected. Rivers has been a Hall-of-Fame caliber coach. The Clippers tested the Golden State Warriors in last season's first-round playoff series, pushing it to six games because of the team’s depth and hustle.

Still, plenty of the Clippers’ success this season hinges on how productive and healthy Leonard and George remain.

After playing in nine games because of complications with a quadriceps injury in his final year in San Antonio, Leonard joined the Toronto Raptors and “load management” became part of the league’s lexicon. After winning an NBA title in his lone season in Toronto, will Leonard follow the same program?

“I don’t anticipate that being an issue,” Rivers said. “It helps we’re a pretty deep team.”

As for George? Frank said that George has “made great progress” since having off-season surgery on his left shoulder, but declined to provide a timetable on his possible return.

The Clippers also have nine players from a bench that led the NBA last season in scoring (53.4 points per game), including Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, JaMychal Green, Patrick Beverley and Landry Shamet. The Clippers also acquired Maurice Harkless in an offseason trade, and Rivers might also depend on rookies Mfiondu Kabengale and Terance Mann. Therefore, Rivers said his offense will center around Leonard, George and “parts of the right system for them and the team.”

“I don’t know if I’ve done the parade route and all of that. But you have to at least envision it,” Rivers said. “I find myself doing that. Then you have to do the work.”

That way, Rivers will not have to pay for many meals again.

Source link
Read also:
Business Insider › Sports › 1 month ago
The Los Angeles Clippers had the biggest summer in the NBA, signing Kawhi Leonard and trading for Paul George. Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said he thought the Clippers had the inside track to landing Leonard when he agreed to meet at Rivers' Malibu...
USA Today › Sports › 1 week ago
Clippers coach Doc Rivers said aspects of Kawhi Leonard's game was 'most like Jordan we've seen' on 'SportsCenter' in May. Leonard had some thoughts.
New York Post › Sports › 6 days ago
LOS ANGELES — The NBA fined the Los Angeles Clippers $50,000 on Thursday for statements made by coach Doc Rivers and others that were “inconsistent” about Kawhi Leonard’s health status. Leonard sat out the Clippers’ 129-124 home loss to the...
USA Today › Sports › 6 days ago
The NBA supported the Clippers' decision to rest Kawhi Leonard in a national TV game, but Doc Rivers' comments seemingly undercut the league.
CBS Local › Sports › 6 days ago
The Los Angeles Clippers have been fined $50,000 by the NBA for statements made by coach Doc Rivers about the health of star Kawhi Leonard.
USA Today › Sports › 1 month ago
When trying to land Kawhi Leonard during the NBA's free-agency period, the star player gave Doc Rivers and Steve Ballmer a blunt message.
Washington Times › 5 days ago
The NBA fined the Los Angeles Clippers $50,000 on Thursday for statements made by coach Doc Rivers and others that were "inconsistent" about Kawhi Leonard's heath status.
USA Today › Sports › 5 days ago
Kawhi Leonard scored 18 of his 27 points in the fourth to lead the Clippers after the team was fined for Doc Rivers' comments on Leonard resting.
Washington Post › Sports › 6 days ago
Having resting Leonard twice during nationally-televised games, the Clippers were fined $50,000 "for statements inconsistent with Leonard's health status."
The New York Times › Sports › 6 days ago
The NBA has fined the Los Angeles Clippers $50,000 for statements made by coach Doc Rivers and others that were "inconsistent with (Kawhi) Leonard's health status."
Sign In

Sign in to follow sources and tags you love, and get personalized stories.

Continue with Google