Los Angeles Clippers
2017-18 Record: 42-40, 10th in the Western Conference
The new-look Clippers fell short of the playoffs in the 2017-18 season, but still managed to put together a winning season (42-40 record).
They enter their 2018-19 campaign without DeAndre Jordan, who signed with the Mavericks in the off-season, which completed a total overhaul of the ‘lob-city’ era consisting of superstars Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan.
Interestingly, coach Doc Rivers was reluctant to go through the rebuilding phase with the Celtics, but seems more than happy to go through with it at the Clippers after signing on until the end of the 2020-21 season.
Aside from Jordan, Doc Rivers very own son Austin (Rivers) was the only other major departure over the off-season, as he seeks a fresh start in Washington alongside the backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Marcin Gortat has come across from the Wizards to fill the Jordan void in the centre position, while Mike Scott and Luc Mbah a Moute are the other solid inclusions to the roster.
Offseason Arrivals: Marcin Gortat (Wizards), Johnathan Motley (Mavericks), Mike Scott, Luc Mbah a Moute (free agent), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jerome Robinson (draft)
Offseason Departures: Sam Dekker (Cavaliers), DeAndre Jordan (Mavericks), Austin Rivers (Wizards), C.J. Williams (waived)
What to Expect?
Our predicted starting line-up for the Clippers is an interesting one to digest. Firstly, the backcourt pairing of Patrick Beverley and Avery Bradley will provide excellent resistance to scoring guards in the NBA. They’re both relentless in their effort and drive to stop their opposition from scoring, which should make for some fun viewing. Add in the length and versatility of Danilo Gallinari and Tobias Harris and you’ve got yourself a solid defensive team.
On the other side of the ball, though, is where we have our doubts, especially in the backcourt. Both Beverley and Bradley are OK shooters. Both are OK playmakers. But in today’s NBA it’s hard to see them providing enough of a threat consistently to match it with the top teams. Don’t be surprised to see Lou Williams injected into the starting line-up from time to time to give them a lift on offence.
In the tough Western Conference it’s going to be extremely difficult for the Clippers to win 45+ games and make the playoffs. How they fare in the first 2 or so months will play a huge factor in whether they tank or continue to dog it out for the remainder of the season.
Key Player: Tobias Harris
It’s hard to believe that the 6’9 forward, originally drafted by the then Charlotte ‘Bobcats’, is just 26 years-of-age as he enters his 8th year in the league.
We think it’s fair to say that Tobias Harris has been blessed by the way the NBA has transitioned over the past couple of years. He has the ideal size and skillset to play that valuable stretch four role that we see so many of the top teams use.
In a team full of defensive players, Harris will stand out with his 3pt range and his soft touch around the rim. We think this may very well be the year that he eclipses the elusive 20 points per game mark.
Vegas 2018-19 Win Total
As mentioned above, we can’t see the Clippers sliding into the playoffs mix this season. There’s just too many good teams in the West, which will likely keep them at bay.
The question is.. what next for Doc Rivers’ Clippers?
We see them going into full rebuild mode after a poor start to the season. Take the Unders.