Opinion: Jazz Fans Shouldn’t Care That Kawhi Won’t Play

Oct 30, 2019, 9:07 PM
Kawhi Leonard...
Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers runs upcourt during the first half of a game against the Charlotte Hornets at Staples Center on October 28, 2019 in Los Angeles, California (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The announcement that NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard wasn’t going to play against the Utah Jazz was met with complaints on social media.  

Some wondered how one of the games best players needed to sit out the 5th game of the NBA season due to load management. Others cried that fans should get their money back since they paid to see Kahwi’s Clippers and not Montrezl Harrell’s Clippers.  

Those are fair arguments. I should probably buy into them.  

But I don’t. I have bigger thoughts on my mind.

Readers shouldn’t misunderstand me. I would love to see the best two-way player in the NBA take on the Jazz. This was one of the nationally televised games I said was a must-see on a previous Jazz Notes podcast. This is the team that I thought would make it to the NBA Finals from the Western Conference because of Leonard and Paul George. I want to see these guys play and I want to see them play at Vivint Smart Home Arena!

But not right now. I can wait, even though patience is not one of my virtues.  

I’m looking to the future; to April…and possibly May.

The Jazz play the Clippers on April 7th in Salt Lake. Leonard and George will hopefully be a full-strength and will have two days of rest before the game. Sure, the Clips have a game the next night in Los Angeles against the Bulls, but it’s the Bulls. If either guy was going to take a night off late in the season, it would be against Chicago.  

On top of that, Utah could be fighting with the Jazz for playoff seeding close to the end of the regular season. Mike Conley will hopefully be shooting a lot better than he is right now and the Jazz should be more cohesive and explosive. Doesn’t that game sound a lot more appealing than the 5th game of the season without George?

And what about these two teams clashing in the playoffs? What if it was a Western Conference Finals title tilt? That series sounds tantalizing. Hopefully, Utah can avoid seeing Houston in an earlier round. There is just something about the Rockets taking down the Jazz but, I digress.  

I would gladly watch Kawhi sitting in street clothes in October if it means a better Clippers team in April and May. If I’m the Jazz, I would gladly accept Leonard taking the night off so that they can still work on coming together without a defensive freak fly all over the floor. This Los Angeles team will still give Utah fits with Harrell and Lou Williams running the pick and roll and Patrick Beverly hounding Conley or Donovan Mitchell all over the floor.

I understand that every Jazz fan is excited right now because its the start of the season and they want to see their team take on the best. It’s frustrating and it almost looks like Leonard is dodging the best defensive team in the NBA so that he can take on his former employer, San Antonio, tomorrow night.  

In reality, all of us knew that Leonard could take just about any game off this season after missing over 20 games last season due to rest. You just didn’t want to see him do it against your team. But Jazz fans should let that vitriol stew in them for over 5 months and bring it the Viv on that April night.  

That’s the big game. That’s the game Jazz fans really want to see.  

So settle down and enjoy tonight’s Kawhi-less game. He’ll be back to boo next spring.

  • Utah Jazz Scoreboard

  • Utah Jazz Team Leaders

  • Utah Jazz Standings


Trent Forrest - Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs...
Brian Preece

Former Jazz Guard Trent Forrest Signs Two-Way Deal With Hawks

Entering his third season in the NBA, former Utah Jazz backup point guard Trent Forrest has signed with the Atlanta Hawks.
2 days ago
Brian Preece

Report: Jazz Sign Forward Paris Bass To One-Year Contract

The Utah Jazz made news on Sunday when it was reported that they have signed small forward Paris Bass to a one-year contract.
2 days ago
Bill Russell - WCC...

Russell Was A Champion Of Activism Before Winning NBA Titles

Bill Russell never had to find his voice as an activist. He didn't know any other way but to speak his mind.
5 days ago
Associated Press

Former Jazzman Carroll Reunites With Budenholzer As Bucks Assistant

The Milwaukee Bucks have hired former NBA player DeMarre Carroll and former Utah Jazz assistant coach Vince Legarza as assistant coaches.
5 days ago
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert dunks (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)...
Ben Anderson

Should Jazz Retire Number 27 For Rudy Gobert?

Should the Utah Jazz retire the number 27 jersey worn by Rudy Gobert when he decides he's done playing in the NBA?
7 days ago
Brandon Taylor #11 of the Utah Utes passes past Chase Fischer #1 of the Brigham Young Cougars in th...
Michelle Bodkin

Powder League, Brandon Taylor Teaming Up For Charity Showcase

Former Runnin' Ute Brandon Taylor is back in town playing for the Powder League this summer and together they are teaming up for a Charity Showcase to benefit Utah Foster Care on August 9th.
8 days ago
Opinion: Jazz Fans Shouldn’t Care That Kawhi Won’t Play