Rivers says the Boston Celtics followed KG because of his actions, and believes Leonard can provide the Clips with similar leadership.
Doc adds that having a target on their backs will be good for the Clippers.
Per The Boston Globe:
“From afar, he reminds me a lot of Kevin [Garnett],” Rivers said. “He reminds me of a quiet version of Kevin. Imagine a Kevin Garnett that didn’t talk — his actions are why we followed Kevin. As verbal as Kevin was and as expressive as he was, if he didn’t follow through with his actions, none of that verbal stuff would have worked. So to me, from afar, he reminds me a lot of Kevin that way in that he tends to want to show you by example. That’s the best leadership.”
Rivers said he has no master plan for coaching Leonard. He will go by experience and go by feel.
“It’s great [to have a target on the back] for this team. It’s exhausting for a championship team because it usually happens to a team that’s won already,” he said. “In 2008, it was really Detroit who we [the Celtics] had targeted and then the Lakers we had targeted. Last year, it was Golden State clearly that everybody was trying to be, and this year it’s kind of open because the team that won it in Toronto, their best player left.
“So it’s open. It’s us. It’s the Lakers. It’s Golden State. It’s Boston. It’s a bunch of teams. We clearly are one that teams will target. It reminds me of that Miami team that hadn’t won it yet [in 2010] with LeBron [James] and [Dwyane] Wade and [Chris] Bosh but they still were the target.
“In my opinion, in 2009, we had won it already. We knew teams were going to attack us and we were ready for it, but it was exhausting because we had just come off a title. We haven’t played since the middle of May, but teams are going to try to come after us. I think that’s a good thing. I think we need that. It will teach us hopefully every night you have to be ready. In the long run, if we can get through it, it will prepare us for the march. If we can’t get through it, we won’t get there anyway.”
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Montrezl Harrell has worked hard to expand his offensive repertoire this summer, and promises to show off “a lot more stuff” next season.
Harrell, 25, has focused on improving his ball handling and perimeter shooting, including three-pointers.
The fiery big man is excited for what he expects to be an “amazing” year for the LA Clippers.
Per The Athletic:
“There’s going to be a lot more stuff you’re going to see this year,” Harrell says.
His bread-and-butter is rolling to the rim — statistically he’s one of the three or four best roll men in the league — and upholding arguably the game’s best pick-and-roll tandem with [Lou] Williams.
“I don’t get away from that because if a guy can’t stop it, he can’t stop it,” Harrell says. “But at the same time, I know I could be able to get like I’m going to go to my running hook and be able to pull up where I’m at and knock the shot down with confidence. I’m going to be able to get to my spots on the floor where I feel that I can work and do the most damage at and be able to score and get a bucket from there.”
The Clippers’ acquisitions of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, which overnight transformed them into championship favorites and put Harrell, the team’s seventh man and closing center, closer to the league’s spotlight and the Larry O’Brien Trophy than he’s ever been.
“It’s going to be amazing, man,” Harrell says. “It’s going to be fun. I’m ready to get out there and just get after it in training camp. Just be able to grow with the guys like we do every year. As you see, we took steps forward each year. Even with the run we had last year with the guys we had. Now you add two star pieces in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard and you also add a lot of role pieces that are going to help us all.”
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With Kawhi Leonard no longer in the picture for the defending NBA champs, the pressure to deliver falls squarely on Siakam’s shoulders.
The 25-year-old forward is coming off a Most Improved Player campaign in 2018-19, and Nurse belives “the sky’s the limit” for him.
Per Yahoo Sports Canada:
“I just think his next step in progression is being ‘The Man,’” Nurse told Yahoo Sports Canada. “Instead of being a complementary guy next to ‘The Man,’ he’s gotta be ‘The Man’ — the primary scorer and the primary option and the late-game scorer.”
Having established himself as an interior scorer, Nurse says the next step in Siakam’s development will take place on the perimeter.
“He really can play anywhere,” Nurse said of Siakam. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we almost make him like a point forward, where he’ll handle the ball a lot up the floor.”
His ceiling won’t necessarily hit MVP levels, but Siakam does have a decent shot of challenging for an All-NBA team next year.
“There’s lots of little steps left to climb yet for him,” Nurse said of Siakam, “And I think the sky’s the limit.”
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Kawhi Leonard, the L.A. Clippers Foundation and non-profit community partner Baby2Baby, announced this morning a gift of one million backpacks intended to reduce stress on low-income families headed back to school across Southern California. Every single student in the Moreno Valley Unified, Inglewood Unified and Los Angeles Unified School Districts will receive a new backpack to start the school year.
“My goal this year is to make a meaningful contribution both on and off the court,” Leonard said, via Clippers.com. “This felt like the right way to get started. It was important to me to make this announcement in my hometown of Moreno Valley at my former Elementary School, but the benefits this program will have across all of Los Angeles makes today even more special.”
Kawhi Leonard was born and raised in California, so he has a special connection with these kids.
“There are a lot of families throughout the L.A. region working hard every day to earn everything in their lives. This program is our effort to extend a hand to make heading back to school a little easier,” said Gillian Zucker, President of Business Operations, L.A. Clippers. “Our deepest appreciation goes out to Kawhi Leonard and Baby2Baby’s incredible network of ambassadors who walk the walk when it comes to using their platforms and voices to provide real solutions to impact the everyday lives of the people around us.”
The defending NBA Champion Toronto Raptors (that has such a nice ring to it) return to defend their title with all the key pieces intact, except for the devastating loss of Danny Green. They’ll miss his defense, dead-eye shooting, and the occasional spectacular block. Outside of Green, there’s really no one else that the Raptors will miss as they ramp up for yet another successful year. Well, I suppose they miss JVal, Caboclo, and Wright, but those guys were dealt mid-season so they don’t really count for the the purpose of this exercise. Anyone else I forgot to mention?
Ok fine, I guess it’s about time I face reality and accept the fact that Kawhi is forever gone, taking his talents to La La Land. The Raps had a brilliant year and a historic playoffs run, but they will have to temper expectations this year. Kyle Lowry just turned 33 and one has to wonder how much gas he’s got left in the tank. Pascal Siakam is their young star, who leads a team full of hungry young guns and a few vets who can still contribute. Expect to Raps to be a playoff team, but I’m afraid the glory days are a thing of the past. Winter has come and gone, and so has the King of the North.
Lowry says he is “genuinely happy” for his former teammate, who he believes sought happiness by moving back home to California and signing with the LA Clippers.
The 33-year-old five-time NBA All-Star adds that he “would love to do an extension” with the Raptors.
“I’m happy for you,” Lowry said of his reaction to Leonard’s news. “… I am happy for the guys that … especially a guy that helped do something fantastic and something great. He’s an unbelievable friend of mine and is a good guy. He made a decision to go home and he is happy with that and I am happy for him. Truly. I am genuinely happy for him. It gives him a chance to be around his family and friends. You got to respect the guy and be happy for him.”
While Leonard’s departure was a massive blow for Toronto, it didn’t change the way Lowry felt about what the Raptors accomplished by bringing Canada its first NBA title.
“No, not at all,” Lowry said emphatically. “Not at all. We are champions. No matter what. [It will] never be taken away from us. Ever. Ever, ever. Ever, ever.”
Asked about Toronto entering next season without the Leonard, Lowry declared the road to a championship still ran through the Raptors.
“It is what it is,” Lowry said. “We’re still going to be able to run it back. We’re the champions and we’re trying to defend our title. I’m confident with our team.”
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