Paul George has revealed that he’s swallowing his pride and setting his ego to the side after making it clear that Kawhi Leonard will be playing Batman for the Clippers while George is the Robin of the duo and team..
The All-Star wing duo enter their fourth season together, and the championship expectations are higher than ever with The Klaw and PG-13 returning healthy after the Clippers acquired John Wall over the offseason. George was recently asked about any past wing tandem that he and Leonard could rely on as a potential blueprint.
“Yeah, look at the [Miami Heatle] wing-wing DWade [Dwyane Wade] and LeBron [James],” George said on Sunday, per ESPN. “I think it just comes down to — listen, Kawhi is the No. 1. And I am totally fine with that. I think I try to complement him with being able to take the load off of him.
“Everybody says, ‘Kawhi [and] you are 1 and 1, [or] 1A, 1B.’ I’ll publicly say, I’m the 2. Kawhi’s the 1; I’m the 2. So that part we nipped in the bud. Like there’s no ego when it comes to that.”
That dunk tho. 🔥🔥🔥— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) October 10, 2022
📺 @KTLA | @Yg_Trece pic.twitter.com/0qYWeMyzfn
The 2022-23 campaign will be a pivotal season with the wing tandem looking to lead the Clippers to the franchise’s first Finals trip and fulfill their potential since they were acquired in 2019.
The Clippers will have their first chance to prove their championship contender status when they play the Lakers on Oct. 20. It’ll be George and Leonard’s first meaningful game together since Leonard tore the ACL in his right knee during Game 4 of the Clippers’ second-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz on June 14, 2021.
“I mean, I missed a whole year missing basketball,” Leonard said. “I went down in one of the worst ways, in a playoff run. Just don’t wanna take anything for granted and just trying to live in that moment and bring a sense of energy for the team.”
“I’m young still,” Leonard, 31, added. “So any chance you get that taken away from you, and you don’t feel like you’re done — You just miss it, you know what I mean?”
George led LA to their first Conference Finals and carried the load in the regular season until he suffered an elbow injury that kept him out of action for three months. George came back late but missed the Clippers’ season-ending play-in loss to the New Orleans Pelicans due to COVID-19 protocols.
Kawhi slam!✋— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) October 10, 2022
📺 @KTLA | #ClipperNation pic.twitter.com/j8gUoueEC9
On Sunday, Leonard described how he and George had grown together as leaders and in their dynamic as a duo, pointing out that they have developed a “genuine relationship” over the last four years.
“We’re both unselfish,” Leonard said. “My 12th year, his 13th year — we’ve been through this before, so I feel like just having those years under our belt and, obviously, like I said, we have a genuine relationship, and it just carries over [into how we lead].”
This offseason and in training camp, George and the Clippers have seen Leonard show joy during his return after spending the year recovering and strengthening his right knee. Leonard and George have played 104 regular-season and playoff games since 2019. After becoming “the man” on the roster while Leonard missed all of the last season, PG-13 said that he is perfectly fine with Leonard becoming the featured option of the offense.
“I believe in my talent and what I can do,” George said. “And I believe on any night of what I am capable of. But I feel my job is to make everybody better. That is what I try to do when I am on the floor, just make the game easy for everybody, whether it is creating or just being aggressive — and making reads off of that.
“I think we will go a long ways if everybody just knows their role and what we bring to the table. Everything else is easy; we just roll the ball out, and we get after it.”
The CLippers start their season against the Lakers on Oct. 20.