The Los Angeles Clippers suffered a brutal blow in the 2021 playoffs, losing Kawhi Leonard to a knee injury that could keep him out for the entirety of the upcoming season.
With expectations sitting low for the Clippers, and no indication on when their star will return, team President Lawrence Frank spoke to the media about the situation, assuring the masses that multiple-time All-Star Paul George is not only capable of leading them to success (even in the absence of his partner), he's relishing the opportunity to do so.
“I think he’s looking forward to the challenge,” Frank said, per The Athletic’s Law Murray. “He’s been in this position before, in other places, probably more Indiana than Oklahoma City. But I think Paul has shown throughout his career that he’s more than capable to rise to the challenge. And I think as a competitor, obviously you’d love for Kawhi to be there from day one, but we also understand what we’re dealing with and he’s looking forward to it.
We fully expect Paul to continue to be one of the best players in the world and to do whatever it takes to help the team win."
There was a time when Paul George was flying solo.
Back in Indiana, he was the star of the show for several years, averaging 21.2 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game as one of the best defenders in the league. At the height of his run with the Pacers, he led them to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance against the Miami Heat.
Unfortunately, PG struggled to find similar success in the years that followed, enduring early postseason exits during his time with the Thunder and his first campaign with the Clippers.
Last season, though, Paul George showed flashes of who he could be if given the chance -- and although he failed to get his squad to the Finals, it was his performance after Kawhi went down that kept them in the hunt for so long.
Without Kawhi for who knows how much longer, this is an opportunity for PG to finally stick it to all the doubters and haters.