"It's a great accomplishment," Leonard said of making the playoffs. "For me and Paul and the rest of the guys that were here, them being the eighth seed last year, us coming into a new system, able to play that well together our first year under all these circumstances. ... We're still in the journey. We just got to keep enjoying each day and the process."
That was Kawhi—not exactly a ringing endorsement. “Still in the journey”? Really? How about Lou?
“Meshing is important to us, everybody being on the same accord on the offensive and defensive end. We probably are going to be our own worst enemies when it comes down to that.”
Hmm. He’s not sanguine about the upcoming playoffs either. Maybe Doc?
“This hat I’m wearing … is what our president is trying to get us not to do, which I think is just as disgraceful.”
I admire Doc’s commitment to the issue of voting rights—I’m just not sure if I’d make it a significant interview topic 48 hours before a playoff series begins. (The Times article on the CLipeprs 48 hours before the playoffs was focused on Doc's political stands--again, admirable. But not talking about your team much is a sign--and when he did talk about basketball, it wasn't all hearts and roses. What about Doc on Trezz as he was coming out of Covid Protocol?
“I’m just gonna throw him in there. He’s earned that right. The challenge will be just how ready he is. I don’t know if I’ve ever had a guy who hasn’t played in eight games or whatever, hasn’t had any practice, and we’re just gonna throw him out on the floor in a playoff game. And we’re hoping that at this point. There’s no guarantee that will ever happen, so we’ll see.”
That’s a lot of “hoping” about things the team is “just gonna” do, ending up with “we’ll see.” Those are *not* optimistic takes on the current condition of the team, mentally or physically. All of them were made and published in the Times in the 72 hours before the beginning of the playoffs. So, yeah, I’m going to say the tone of the team and staff—as well as the playoff situation overall—is significantly different from last year.