Countdown to NBA Tip-Off: Los Angeles Clippers Season Preview

OAKLAND, USA - JANUARY 10 : Head coach of LA Clippers Doc Rivers speaks during a press conference before the start of an NBA basketball match against the Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, United States on January 10, 2018. (Photo by Joel Angel Juarez/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Clippers are entering next season with hefty expectations. They made the playoffs last season, and then further upgraded their roster this off-season. Let’s take a look at the Clippers season preview.

Countdown to NBA Tip-Off: Los Angeles Clippers Season Preview

Recap of last season

The Clippers entered last season with a talented roster, featuring the likes of Tobias HarrisDanilo Gallinari, and Lou Williams. Team owner Steve Ballmer knew he had a playoff-worthy squad, but not a title contender. In order to get ready for the off-season, the Clippers shipped of players like Harris and Avery Bradley.

They still made the playoffs as an eight seed, however. They matched up versus the Golden State Warriors dynasty and surprised the NBA world by winning two games in the series. Due to this, the Clippers instantly became an attractive destination.

Off-season moves

The biggest winners of the league’s off-season were the Clippers. The first moves they made were acquiring Maurice Harkless from the Portland Trail Blazers and re-signing Patrick Beverley. Harkless is an outstanding defender and solid role player like Beverley, but these moves were part of a larger plan.

Four days later, the most sought-after free agent in Kawhi Leonard chose to sign with the Clippers over the Los Angeles Lakers and reigning champions Toronto Raptors. Shortly after, Paul George was traded to the Clippers from the Oklahoma City Thunder. In a matter of minutes, the Clippers created arguably the top duo in the league. Leonard just won the championship and Finals MVP honors, while George finished third in MVP voting.

The Clippers continued to strengthen their team by re-signing Ivica ZubacJaMychal Green, and Rodney McGruder.

Season expectations

The entire NBA landscape is different from last season. The Warriors’ dynasty has been dismantled, the Lakers are relevant again, the Western Conference hierarchy got a lot stronger, and the Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers are gearing up to take over the Eastern Conference. With this being said, the Clippers have arguably the most talented team on paper.

Leonard and George form an unstoppable defensive force, with both players being elite offensive threats as well. Montrezl Harrell and Zubac showed plenty of improvement last season, enough to claim starting spots. Beverley and Harkless are great defenders and hustle players, while Williams and Landry Shamet will get buckets off the bench.

The Clippers will be right in the thick of things in the West. If they can stay healthy and mesh quickly, their experience could very well lead them to the Finals.

Clippers season prediction

The West has been the better of the two conferences in the league for a while now. There are nine to ten teams very capable of making the playoffs. Due to this, the Clippers will face a tough schedule. Their team still stands above most, and they should be within the 50-55 win range.

Keeping Leonard’s exploits in mind last season, complemented by an even more talented team, the Clippers will be favorites to win it all. They’ll face tough competition from the likes of the Lakers and Houston Rockets, among others, but they have everything necessary to win the franchise’s first-ever championship.

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