Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press
Per Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times, Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank indicated Leonard’s load management program doesn’t have to be as strict in 2019-20.
The Raptors introduced a load management program for Leonard, who only played in nine games during the 2017-18 season due to a quad injury. He never played both ends of a back-to-back and 14 of the 22 games he sat out were for load management.
Prior to Game 4 of the NBA Finals in June, Leonard told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols (h/t TSN) he probably wouldn’t have made it through the playoffs if he had to play every regular-season game.
“I don’t think I’d be playing right now if I would’ve tried to go through the season,” he said.
Per Clutch Points’ Tomar Azarly, Leonard said after signing with the Clippers he’s “gonna be at full strength” entering this year and his “goal right now is to play the season.”
Toronto’s approach paid dividends for all parties involved. The franchise won its first NBA title, while Leonard was named MVP after averaging 28.5 points and 9.8 rebounds in six games against the Golden State Warriors.
Given the amount of competition in the Western Conference, the Clippers may need Leonard available more often if they want to accomplish their lofty goals in 2019-20.