Season Preview: Western Conference Challengers- Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers have forever been in the shadow of the Lakers but this year we will two all star teams in LA, now that the Clippers have added Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to their roster.
With Doc Rivers as head coach the Clippers were in a favourable position heading into free agency but after signing Kawhi they knew they need a second star so made a huge commitment to bring in Paul George, trading OKC, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, five first-round draft picks, and the rights to swap two other first round picks. The Clippers have one of the best coaches in the league and arguably the best two-way duo in the league, how can they not achieve success this season?
Leonard and George, two-way dynamos:
When he signed with the Clippers Leonard made it clear that he needed a second star to play alongside and the Clippers added George. The only downside to these two guys is their history of injury but if they stay healthy for the majority of the regular season they will have the Clippers dominating the Western Conference. Both players are as adept in their defense as they are in their offence and that is saying something. The two will compliment each other beautifully and will really give Clippers fans something to shout about, finally.
Doc Rivers key to the Clippers:
Doc Rivers has had continued success throughout his coaching career, only failing to make the playoffs in four of his 20 seasons as a coach. He won a championship in Boston in 2008 and is now the most desired coach to play under after Greg Popovich. His coaching philosophy makes average players good and great players better and without him this Clippers team would not be favourites to win the NBA title in 2020.
Clippers putting defense first:
The Clippers will look to defend first and stop other teams from scoring rather than looking to score themselves. They will be aiming to have the best defensive record in the league and when playing against the better teams will be just as capable of changing game plan and putting points on the board. The have added to all star defenders to their already quality defense so they will be the toughest opponents for every team this season.
Depth a key component of this Clipper super team:
The Clippers now have one of the deepest rosters in basketball and this will be important when Leonard and George need a rest, as the team will be able to bring in quality to replace them. Without this roster depth the Clippers would be on par with the Lakers for the regular season but the added quality gives them an edge for the regular season.
The Clippers have made big moves to create a team that can challenge for the top prize in the NBA, while this is not a Championship or bust team, they will be disappointed if they do not at very least make the Finals.
Season Prediction: 58-24, 1st place in the West
Catch the Clippers first game of the season live on Sky Sports as they take on the Lakers @3:30am Wednesday morning.