Ah yes, darkness my old friend. Well, not the usual darkness and despair, let’s be honest here, the Clippers are a very good team. And not just the roster, the entire franchise is pretty darn solid from top-to-bottom and, like the past four seasons, remains a threat to grab the chip. The obvious hurdle the past several years, of course, is the perpetual injuries and time missed by their two biggest stars in Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. While Kawhi takes the cake for the majority of time missed, no one is really unfamiliar with this race to the bottom with exploding body parts. But that’s the intrigue with this team, when those two aren’t on the court, there’s still a solid group that can grind out wins and hold their own, a narrative that’s remained entrenched as they prove it every season. But when, and of course we have to add the caveat of “if” those two ever make it on the court together in a sustainable amount of time (ahem, playoffs), well, the sky is pretty much the limit.
Record: 42-40 (9th Seed, Play-in, Eliminated by NOP.)
As alluded to in the lede, the grindiest of seasons, the Clippers essentially gritted their way through the regular season with the absences of, you guessed it, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, CRAZY I KNOW. With the latter’s recovery from a torn ACL and missing the entire season, and the former just playing 31 games total from a torn UCL (too many CL explosions!), Ty Lue was able to navigate a team to the playoffs as the front office continued to tinker and improve the roster by adding Norman Powell and Robert Covington, both positive benefits that may shape the upcoming season. With the re-signings of Nicolas Batum and Amir Coffey, the Clippers continue to be a team that relies on depth and role players coming together as a unit.
Projected Depth Chart
PG: John Wall, Reggie Jackson
SG: Norman Powell, Terance Mann
SF: Paul George, Nicolas Batum
PF: Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris
C: Ivica Zubac, Robert Covington
Another interesting signing was that of John Wall, who remains almost a known enigma, a player that should contribute, but what that looks like in its final form remains ambiguous. But as it stands right now, the Clippers are the team to the beat with their dynamic scorers in Leonard and George set to start the season healthy. Granted, this means little if past is pretense, but don’t forget that the rest of this core in Reggie Jackson, Marcus Morris, and Ivica Zubac continue to thrive in their roles and continue to grow and, if the NBA Gods are willing to grant injury immunity, at least for short while, a 55+ win season would not be a crazy thought.
Projected Record: 57-25 (2nd Seed, Finals Appearance.)
Yeah, I’m drinking the Kool Aid because if not this season, when else? There is no safer time to go all-in for now, that includes both the fandom and front office alike. And just how the Lob City Clippers had their playoff fates tempered by injuries, this iteration must face the same challenges and perhaps try not have any of their body parts, especially those that end in C-L combust and implode. What could go wrong?
Jay is a longtime Razzball everything who consumes an egregious amount of Makers Mark as a vehicle to gain wisdom and augment his natural glow. Living in the D.C. area, he also likes spending time visiting the local parks and feeding lettuce to any turtles he encounters, including Mitch McConnell. You can follow him on Twitter @jaywrong.