The L.A. Clippers were instantly tagged as championship favorites when they simultaneously landed Kawhi Leonard in free agency and acquired Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder via trade.
Leonard, following their dominant 128-103 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday, tempered any championship expectations for the Clippers.
Kawhi Leonard on this Clippers season – "I think we’ve got a long way to go. We’re gonna get there… We just can’t be in a rush. Just be patient. It’s hard to win a championship. The pressure isn’t on us now. We’ve gotta just enjoy the process and have fun." pic.twitter.com/i8rsaZTQBs
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) January 15, 2020
Surely, Leonard knows a thing or two about the grind of winning championships. He experienced that last season with the Toronto Raptors and with the San Antonio Spurs during their two Finals runs from 2013 and 2014.
Champions aren't made overnight and Leonard is aware of that. There is a process they have to go through to eventually get to their goal of reaching the mountaintop.
Sure, a good chunk of their Cinderella core from last season is still intact. But they did add arguably two of their biggest pieces in Leonard and George. They would obviously need some time to integrate the two stars and work on their chemistry.
Prior to the start of the season, many believed the Clippers had a team that could breeze through the season. So far, however, the regular season hasn't been as smooth sailing as expected for the Clippers.
L.A. had a pretty rough couple of weeks prior to their dominant win over Cleveland on Tuesday. An embarrassing 140-114 loss against the Memphis Grizzlies on January 4 highlights this rough stretch and kickstarted some state of concern around Clipper land. Reserve big man Montrezl Harrell called out the team for their lack of energy on defense and admitted they were not a good team.
With their most recent win over the Cavaliers, it seems like the Clippers have found their stride again.
Nevertheless, there's still a lot more basketball to be played. The Clippers will just have to stay the course and be patient with the process.