Kawhi Leonard was seen at a Clippers practice and there’s absolutely a chance it could change the NBA playoffs

It's Kawhi Leonard!

It’s Kawhi Leonard!
Drawing: Andrew Grief/Twitter

A ghost was spotted at Los Angeles Clippers practice yesterday afternoon.

Local media spotted Kawhi Leonard. Videos were taken by reporters from the Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register Leonard participates in shooting practice before the team begins training. He asked reporters not to record him shooting, but they reported on what they saw.

Andrew Grief of the Los Angeles Times noted that what Leonard spent most of the day working on was walking with an injured right leg and while planting with a healthy left. But he did work planting left and going right as well. He also said Leonard’s shot looked like “tight as ever”, but never moved at full speed. Mirjam Swanson of the OC Register reported that he has traveled around the world from the 3-point line and that he has 64 out of 85 strokes.

This is the first news about Leonard since early February, when Tyronn Lue said he “probably won’t be back this season”, after partially tearing his right ACL in the Clippers’ second-round playoff series against the Los Angeles. Utah Jazz in June. These comments came a month after those from Yahoo and TNT Chris Haynes reported that Leonard’s rehab was ahead of schedule and that there was a “strong possibility” he could return this season. When Lue was asked about Leonard doing shooting practice he told the media, “I have not seen it.

As usual, a major injury to Leonard is shrouded in mystery. He doesn’t speak much to the media outside of required post-game interviews, and those close to him guard his information as if it were fraternity or sorority rituals. The only time there were leaks had to do with the quad injury that confounded the sports world during the 2017-18 season, and ultimately resulted in his trade from the San Antonio Spurs. It’s only after this season completely blew up that the report by Michael C. Wright and Ramona Shelburne explain how trust was broken after Spurs became unhappy with Leonard seeking medical opinions outside the organization.

Try searching Google for fresh, concrete information about his current injury. There will be a lot of websites showing up in your results that you won’t recognize. So with Kawhi jab-stepping and burying three against the open air, is it realistic to think he could add to the Clippers if he says he’s out of the play-in tournament they beat the Timberwolves Minnesota in a play-in game and are paired against the Memphis Grizzlies as the seventh seed?

He could get them past the first round. I love watching the Grizzlies play as much as anyone who isn’t from southwest Tennessee or northwest Mississippi, but Leonard would be a problem for them. With Leonard out all season and Paul George out for most of it, the Clippers were able to maintain a top-10 defensive rating. George’s injury was in the elbow, so he still has some time to adjust to NBA speed and have the athleticism to be the dependable defensive presence he’s always been in the playoffs after only playing three games since early January – they are 2-1 since his return. Leonard’s teammates could handle the defense against the Grizzlies and let him use his strength and jump shot to intimidate this team that’s only made the playoffs once since Marc Gasol, Z-Bo, Mike Conley and Tony Allen played there for the last time.

Just keep the game close, and they’ve got the closest anyone can objectively say the Grizzlies have, no matter how good Ja Morant looks once he returns from what’s been reported as an injury. minor in the knee that has kept him out of the lineup since March 20. He was great against the Utah Jazz last season in the first round, but they still lost in five games and every game Donovan Mitchell was on the court.

The Clippers get through that and maybe Leonard feels a little better, as does George, and now it’s the Golden State Warriors or the Dallas Mavericks in the second round, depending on which team gets the No. 3 seed. They will have a better chance against the Warriors, who have also struggled with injuries all season, than against the Mavericks, who have been in tears since January and have a target on the Clippers’ back after losing to them in two straight games. . first round series. Leonard a week or two into the NBA season won’t be enough against a revenge-seeking Luka Dončić and company, but they might be able to outrun a Warriors team that lack playoff experience outside of their top three. players, Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson, all of whom have suffered injuries this season.

If the Clippers pull off this streak, it’s now late May and veteran Leonard has a month of playoff basketball under his belt. The Suns have played better than any team in the NBA, but they haven’t seen their division rival in this form all season. This could be a fun series that comes down to George and Leonard versus Chris Paul and Devin Booker.

The Western Conference playoffs will be exponentially more fun if Leonard returns, and he could fit into that list along with George, Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris, Luke Kennard, Terrance Mann and the likely return of Norman Powell from a foot injury. It could absolutely work for the Clippers; there are only two problems.

They need to beat the Timberwolves in the play-in and Leonard needs to come back against the Grizzlies in the first round. That’s a lot to ask for a team that already has a player returning from a Tommy John injury with no Tommy John surgery performed on his shooting elbow, and now if their best player is playing his first NBA minutes since an ACL injury this season will be playoff minutes. Quite the giant IF I know, but IF the stars align a Comet Clipper could be seen streaking across the NBA.

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