LA Clippers should use “sickness” like LeBron to rest stars

LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Clippers Kawhi Leonard (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Being injured and sick have their differences but maybe the LA Clippers should use the latter as a reason to load manage for the remainder of the season.

When Kawhi Leonard and Paul George became LA Clippers this past offseason, Clipper fans and media knew we would not see the duo on the floor for all 82 games. Leonard’s knee issues and George’s offseason shoulder surgery have sidelined both for numerous games respectively and the duo did not practice for the first time together until the middle of December.

Load management has been a touchy topic amongst basketball media and fans alike for some time since Gregg Popovich began to sit Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili to prepare for the much more important basketball games in April, May, and June. This, of course, has led coaches like Doc Rivers and others to do the same despite receiving the occasional fine here and there.

The Clippers have been widely scrutinized for their load management of Leonard and George, but over this past weekend the Lakers duo of LeBron James and Anthony Davis took it upon themselves to sit out against the Oklahoma City Thunder and both appeared to have much more “important” things to attend to.

Some of you may remember James throwing indirect shots at Leonard and George for their load management, but James, who stated he had a cold and sat out against OKC, was seen on stage with singer Bad Bunny at Calibash this weekend.

Meanwhile, fellow Lakers star Anthony Davis partook in the festivities in Green Bay, Wisconsin this weekend as the Packers hosted and defeated the Seattle Seahawks in the NFL playoffs.

Now, of course, I am all for players having fun during the NBA season but a line has to be drawn here in regards to LeBron’s comments on load management earlier this season.

To clarify, Leonard is the reigning NBA Finals MVP and won the championship with the Toronto Raptors last season, which is an estimated two extra months of basketball compared to James, who sat out the last 20 games or so after the Lakers were virtually eliminated from playoff contention.

Those extra two months take a toll on a player’s body and Leonard load managed last season with Toronto with a positive result so why not do it again with the LA Clippers, especially considering his injury legitimately needs it? LeBron meanwhile had his first full summer off in a very long time and had no major preseason injuries, so why is he stating that he has a cold but then raving at a concert the very next day?

Of course, load management may not mean much in the grand scheme of things. The Lakers and Clippers will likely see each other in the playoffs this season despite the poor stretch of games that would say otherwise for the Clippers.

As for the Lakers, James and Davis have an injury history and if they want to make sure both are 100 percent for the postseason, maybe head coach Frank Vogel needs to step in and make them sit if they don’t feel 100 percent. He may also need to caution them to mind their own business about their Staples Center rival, whom they have yet to defeat this season in their two meetings.

Next. Clippers need to be extra cautious with Paul George. dark

Leonard and James are making a course for the NBA Finals this season for their respective teams and both will rest and do what they need to do to get their respective teams there. It just seems like Leonard is a bit more serious about getting his third championship ring.