The Los Angeles Clippers made perhaps the biggest moves of any NBA team in the offseason by picking up Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard and the All-Star Paul George. Their new star-powered roster makes it clear they’re hoping to make a run at the title this year. With a record of 23-10, the Clippers are currently sitting at number three in the West, behind the LA Lakers and the Denver Nuggets. But hey, they’re up 2-0 on the Lakers this season after a big win on Christmas Day!
According to oddsmakers, the Clippers are co-favorites to win the NBA Championship in 2020 (along with their cross-town rivals, of course). But as Clippers fans are well aware, things don’t always go according to plan for this franchise…
Shop Best Prices on Clippers Tickets! They’re always authentic and you’ll always receive them on time!
How far can Kawhi take the Clippers?
Well, if you ask the Toronto Raptors, pretty far. Despite desperately hoping their star player would stay in Toronto, the Clippers managed to woo Leonard to LA over the summer. The 28-year-old dynamic shooter played only a single season with the Raptors, but in that time he put up 732 points, the third-highest in NBA history (behind Michael Jordan and Lebron James). Leonard also picked up his second Finals win and second Finals MVP title last year (his first were with the San Antonio Spurs). In July, he signed a three-year, $103 million deal with the Clippers, who are hoping he can do the same for them. Kawhi is currently averaging 25.6 points per game with the team and taking control of his own load management regimen to stay fit and ready for the spring when things get serious.
But Leonard can’t win a title on his own. So it’s a good thing Paul George took his talents to Los Angeles as well. The six-time All Star hasn’t missed a beat since joining the team, and he’s currently averaging 23.7 points per game of his own. The 29-year-old forward has never won a ring, so surely that’s on his mind this season now that he’s got the roster to support him. As one of the Clippers’ key players, George is also practicing a little load management now to stay healthy for April.
Both PG and Kawhi are unselfish, versatile players with ball skills and shooting ability who can handle more than one position, which is just one of the reasons Cleveland Cavaliers coach Larry Drew compared them to the historic Chicago Bulls’ duo of Jordan and Pippen.
In addition to the two biggest moves of the offseason, the Clippers also added veteran experience in the form of Maurice Harkless and Patrick Patterson and new NBA rookies like Mfiondu Kabengele and Terance Mann. And don’t forget, they’ve also got scorers like shooting guard Lou Williams and forward Montrezl Harrell coming off the bench. These guys each average a solid 19 points per game.
Shop Cheap NBA Tickets! Clippers aren’t your team? No problem. We’ve got cheap NBA tickets to all the games so you can catch your favorite team in action!
Obstacles to a Potential Title?
Clippers point guard Patrick Beverly is currently scheduled to miss multiple games with a sprained right wrist, so that’s a bit worrisome, even to head coach Doc Rivers. Beverly took a fall during the third quarter of their game last Saturday against the Utah Jazz and immediately left the court. According to Rivers, “We knew there was no break, but that doesn’t mean he is going to be out or not … He clearly felt like he could not even grab the ball, so that is not a good sign.”
This Clippers team doesn’t have a great backup option for point guard since Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was traded to the Thunder this summer. Only Lou Williams and sophomore player Jerome Robinson have taken over at the position this season – and not for very many total minutes overall. Rumor has it that Rivers might be interested in veteran Thad Young of the Chicago Bulls to add some depth to the Clippers roster.
The Clippers are also dealing with sickness right now, as Leonard, George, and Montrezl Harrell were all reportedly ill this weekend, potentially with the flu. After dominating on Christmas, it’s no wonder they lost by 13 points on Saturday.
If the Clippers can stay healthy, however, it doesn’t look like we’ve seen the peak of what this team can do. They made a statement in their Christmas Day 111-106 win over the Lakers. Expect them to get even better later in the season.