With the addition of all-star players Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, expectations were high for the Clippers last season. Falling to the Nuggets in the 2nd round after leading 3-1 simply would not suffice. As a result, head coach Doc Rivers was relieved of his duties and replaced by his former assistant Ty Lue. Lue does have a championship on his coaching resume and seems to have the ability to get the most out of superstars who need to learn how to mesh together. Simply adding talent isn’t enough to win a championship in the NBA, and chemistry will need to be built in order for this team to reach the next level.
Montrezl Harrell, in a surprise move, signed with the rival Lakers. Losing the 2020 6th Man of the Year may have actually been a blessing in disguise. While Harrell got the lucrative contract he worked hard for and deserves, the Clippers were able to sign Serge Ibaka for the mid-level exception. This series of events may have actually upgraded the Clippers roster while also saving them salary cap space. The team was able to re-sign Marcus Morris who played well for them last season, as well as acquire Luke Kennard in a trade with Detroit. Kennard will likely come off the bench and be a role-player, something that is essential to any championship team.
There have been some recent rumors that Lou Williams is expected to be traded before next season. If thats true his trade value could return them a solid player who may fit in better with Leonard and George. Someone like Derrick Rose screams PERFECT FIT here. Though he would likely score less than Williams, he would be a huge upgrade at the PG position and create an easier flow of offense, something they lacked in the playoffs last season.
With high expectations, this will be a pivotal season for the future of the franchise. Their situation is ironically similar to the last season Paul George spent in Oklahoma City. A disappointing playoff exit could lead to their superstars being ready to jump ship, something that both Leonard and George have shown a tendency for in the past. Clippers fans should be ready for a make or break season and an ending similar to last year is looking increasingly possible. The Lakers roster is looking better than ever, the Warriors are restocked and will be competitive even without Klay Thompson, and the Nuggets young team is on the rise. Time will tell if the Clippers will ever be able to reach their full potential.