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UPDATE: Clippers bringing Kawhi Leonard off the bench in opener

Kurt Helin, Corey Robinson and NBC Sports EDGE's Drew Dinsick break down some NBA title futures, from which teams make the most sense as initial bets to how to play the market long-term.

UPDATE FROM LOS ANGELES — Tyronne Lue made it official, Kawhi Leonard is coming off the bench for the Clippers to start the season.

“Just want to have him for the end of the game, if we need him...” Lue said. “He wants to do whatever is best for the team and I just thought, what was best for him. Whatever makes him feel better and, you know, being out for 15 months, you know, what was the best thing for him as far as health wise and how he was feeling.”

Lue also said he didn’t know how long this would last, with both Leonard and John Wall coming off the bench.

The Clippers starting five is Reggie Jackson, Paul George, Norman Powell, Marcus Morris and Ivica Zubac. The Lakers are going with the same starting five they had against the Warriors: Patrick Beverley, Russell Westbrook, Lonnie Walker IV, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.


One thing is for sure this season: The Clippers will load manage Kawhi Leonard. Los Angeles is a trendy title pick, but that means keeping Leonard’s minutes down and his knees fresh for a long playoff run.

One way to do that is to bring Leonard off the bench, and the Clippers are at least considering it, reports Chris Haynes of TNT.

Making Leonard a sixth man is one way to keep his minutes in check, but it also seems unnecessary. Tyronne Lue could just start his star player, but bring him to the bench earlier and give him longer breaks. The Clippers are ridiculously deep with quality wing role players behind Leonard and Paul George: Norman Powell, Nicolas Batum, Terance Mann, Luke Kennard, Amir Coffey, and Robert Covington (who likely plays some small-ball five along with Marcus Morris). It’s not that difficult to keep Leonard’s minutes down and still win a lot of games.

Of course, Leonard would have to sign off on this.

We get our first look at the Clippers Thursday night when they face the Lakers in a national TNT game (7 pm).