For the first time since 2008, the Clippers will open the season without DeAndre Jordan or Blake Griffin on the roster. This is a definitely a transition year for the Los Angeles Clippers, but as we saw last season this team is going to play hard every night and they will upset some teams. They are coming off a season in which they won 42 games, but their win total is set at just 36.5 wins for the upcoming season. That is both an insult and it makes perfect sense, the Clippers in a nutshell, which is what makes this such a difficult total to pick.
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That team should be pretty good. Tobias Harris was utilized better than he’s ever been in his short time with the Clippers last season and if he can continue that, he’ll quite the asset to this team. While Avery Bradley didn’t really get a chance with this team, I like the way he fits. He can play defense and like Harris, I think he’s the type of player that Doc Rivers will be able to get a lot out of this season.
This was not a very good defensive team last season, after the All-Star break they had a 111.2 Defensive Rating which was 29th in the league. That’s not a great sign and the loss of DeAndre Jordan will hurt there. Reinforcements are in place though. Patrick Beverley is as tough as they come and he was limited to just games last year. He will make a fine defensive trio with Avery Bradley and Luc Mbah A Moute.
Health is such a factor with this team, it’s ridiculous. Danilo Gallinari only played 21 games last year, Beverley was hurt and Bradley was hurt. Those guys need to stay healthy if this team is going to do anything of note this season.
The team made a couple of draft picks this year, something they haven’t been known for over the years. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the point guard of the future, but at just 19 years old and with a slight build it will probably be some time before he takes that role.
Jerome Robinson is a player that I am excited about. He played three years at Boston College and improved every season. He really became a great three-point shooter in his last season and I think that will carryover here.
With those two getting minutes, this should be a deep bench. Better than that, it is a diverse bench. Shooting, passing, rebounding, defense; everything is covered with this group. I think they will feast on bench units of other teams.
As I said in the beginning, this team is perfectly set up for a superstar to be added to the mix. Even if one doesn’t though, the Clippers can overachieve this season. Their defense should be much improved and if everyone stays healthy, I like them to beat this total as Doc Rivers will having them playing hard.
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