In the modern NBA, one of the most commonly-discussed issues is load management. Players are missing games seemingly more often than ever, and the LA Clippers have been at the center of this discussion.
Load management gained traction in NBA conversations during the 2018-19 season, when Kawhi Leonard was coming off a major leg injury. Throughout the year, he sat out back-to-back games in order to accommodate his body's needs. At the end of the season, he led Toronto to a championship.
When Kawhi signed with the Clippers, he joined up with another star player with significant injury history in Paul George. As such, the two had a difficult time staying on the floor together over their first four years in LA, and the two unintentionally became the face of the load management issue.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have been the face of load management
Frustrated with players missing games when not completely unable to play in the eyes of many, the NBA instituted new load management rules to get star players on the floor more often ahead of the 2023-24 season. But ironically, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George have played in 13 out of a possible 13 games so far this year.
The NBA's rules concerning load management felt particularly pointed at the Clippers from the start. So much so that Kawhi expressed his disapproval of the new rules at a press conference prior to the season, stating that he does not sit out games just because he wants to.
"I'm not a guy that's sitting down because I'm doing load management," said Leonard. "When I was with the Raptors it was different. I was coming off an injury ... But if the league is seeing or trying to mock what I did with the Raptors, they should stop because I was injured during that whole year."
Kawhi stated that he will play if he is physically able to. He has done just that so far this season without a missed game on he or Paul George's record so far. In doing so, the pair has truly stuck it to the NBA at a time where it felt like the league was being facetious about their past injury troubles.
If Kawhi Leonard and Paul George keep their streak of good injury luck up, they will undoubtedly give the Clippers a chance at winning a championship this season.