The LA Clippers have been one of the league’s most dominant teams to this point, but what has made them among the Western Conference’s best?
After concluding their season last year in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, the LA Clippers have their eyes set on making a much deeper run this season. This revamped roster the team has put together is top to bottom one of the league’s most talented.
Currently sitting with the second seed in the jam-packed Western Conference, the Clippers have put together a fantastic 44-20 record with 18 games to go. Considering the team finished 48-34 last season, this new team has taken a significant leap forward.
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Leonard is having a career year with the Clippers since winning Finals MVP last season as a member of the Toronto Raptors. The 28-year-old is currently averaging career bests in points per game, assists, and is tied with his career-high in rebounds, quietly putting up an MVP type season.
The two-time champion is averaging 29.6 points per game, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game. Leonard has been putting on a dominant display of his talents all season, asserting himself as one of the league’s top players.
As for Paul George, the six-time all-star is having a down year compared to his MVP caliber season last year but is still a significant piece for the Clippers when healthy. George has only played in 42 games this season due to numerous injuries but has been stellar when on the court.
The forward cannot seem to get his offense going consistently, averaging his lowest scoring mark since 2012-13, currently at 21.0 points per game. This inconsistency is likely because of George’s missed time, but finding himself on the court more in recent play should help him find a groove offensively.
Aside from their superstar tandem, the Clippers’ depth has also been a significant advantage for them. They are the only team in the league that can say they have two Sixth Man of the Year candidates coming off the bench as Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell are having sensational seasons.
Lou Williams, the three-time Sixth man of the Year winner, is making a run at his fourth award, ranking second in bench scoring at 18.6 points per game and first in assists at 5.7 per game. Montrezl Harrell is also making a case for the award, putting up a career-best 18.6 points per game as well.
The LA Clippers’ bench currently ranks first in the league in scoring, putting up an astounding 51.5 points per game. Harrell and Williams are responsible for a large chunk of this, but the depth of this team has been a massive factor.
The newest additions of the Clippers have provided a boost as well, only bolstering their already dominant roster. Marcus Morris Sr. and Reggie Jackson have adapted well to their new team, giving the team a pair of coveted veterans with plenty of experience.
Morris Sr. has cooled down offensively since joining the Clippers but is contributing 9.5 points per game since coming over via trade. Jackson has been solid off the bench, averaging 9.4 points per game, shooting 52.5 percent from the field and 45.2 percent from three-point range.
Joakim Noah did not get the opportunity to play since signing a 10-day contract, but if he is on the team when play resumes, the Clippers will have yet another veteran player with a defensive mindset. Bringing in the former Defensive Player of the Year was a great move, bolstering their frontcourt depth with another veteran piece.
So, with all these pieces together, have the Clippers proved they are a legitimate threat to win an NBA title? Absolutely.
This team has so many pieces functioning at such a high level that being second in the Western Conference seems like a step below what they should be. However, the Clippers have only played a handful of games when fully healthy this season, and they are significantly better when that is the case.
As of now, the LA Clippers could not be in a better position to succeed despite everything they have gone through with injuries. Their players can now continue to get healthy with the playoffs on the horizon. We may not get to see them in action for a while, but looking back on what this team has accomplished this season is impressive.