“Void of Basketball Leaders”: Former Clippers’ Star Explains What the Franchise is Missing Under Kawhi Leonard’s Leadership


The LA Clippers had a very decent 2019-20 regular season where they ended up being #2 in the WC, right behind the Lakers. However, they succumbed under pressure when the underdogs in Denver Nuggets exposed them in the 2nd round of playoffs. 

The immediate response to this humiliation was removing coach Doc Rivers. Tyronn Lue replaced Doc at the position of the new head coach, mainly because of his recent championship-winning experience with the Cavs. But the question still remains:, can he do what Rivers failed to pull off in all these years?

What must be the new head coach’s top priority?

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks
Mavericks’ Luka Doncic looks to pass the ball as Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard defends him in the 2020 NBA Playoffs. Mandatory Credit: Ashley Landis-USA TODAY Sports

In a recent interview, a former NBA point guard who played one season with the Clippers, Brevin Knight, touched upon many weak nerves of the franchise. He detailed, “The biggest thing that Ty Lue would have to get there with the Clippers is that they have to number one; figure out who they are as a team, who they are as an organization and then from there, have to start to build some type of expectation.”

Knight specifically mentioned that the expectations must not be from an individual, but from the entire unit as a whole. When Kawhi Leonard and Paul George came to LA, they had at their disposal a great depth in the Clippers. Patrick Beverley, Ivica Zubac, and Lou Williams were the key pieces that were able enough to get them at least to the conference finals. Still, something went terribly wrong.

What is the biggest issue with the Clippers that is pulling them down?

As Brevin Knight put it perfectly, “The biggest issue I think for the Clippers and this has been for years is when they get into crunch time, the belief in one another hasn’t been there enough to get them over the hump. So who’s going to be that leader? They’ve also been void of basketball leaders. I mean, they have some good leaders that sit on the bench and call the plays and their coaching, but the guys that are on the floor playing…I don’t know who that guy is.”

The Klaw had a 27.1 ppg regular season while PG had a 21.5 point season for himself. Even in the playoffs, while Paul was inconsistent, Kawhi averaged a crazy 28.2 points, 9.3 boards, 5.5 assists, and 2.3 steals. Still, the only area where he lacked was motivating his unit during the dark times. Kawhi is undoubtedly a star performer, but not a go-to leader.

Brevin concluded by suggesting, “Hopefully Ty Lue can bring that in his first season. You can never doubt the skill that they have, but it’s always just something missing.”

What do you think? Can the new Clippers coach make efficient use of the likes of their star duo and Serge Ibaka? 

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Sourabh Singh

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. I intend to make popularise my quote when I say sports define me better than I define sports. See ya’all Champs!