Can the Clippers win the NBA Championship?
The Los Angeles Clippers are one of the deepest teams in the Western Conference and proved it during the 2019-20 NBA regular season, clinching the second seed in a crowded field and posting a 49-23 record while looking dominant in some stretches. With that kind of record, it makes sense why the NBA odds have the Clippers as one of the favorites to win it all, but the real question is, do the Clippers have enough in them to make a serious run at the NBA title this season?
Given their amount of star power, their impressive depth on both ends of the court, and the presence of a (likely) Hall of Fame coach on the sidelines, the Clippers should be treated as a legit, realistic candidate for the Larry O’Brien Trophy. The Clippers built a contender during the offseason and they have responded to those expectations as the campaign has progressed.
The biggest reason why the Clippers can win the title lies in the performances and versatility of their star duo — Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Both players posted excellent numbers in the regular season, as George averaged 21.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game, while Leonard notched 27.1 points, 7.1 boards, and 4.9 dimes per contest. Perhaps the biggest thing that works in their favor is the fact that both players can thrive on both ends of the court. There aren’t many two-way star players in the league, and the Clippers are lucky enough to have two of the best guys under that criteria in the entire Association.
George and Leonard are the foundation of this team and, realistically, the Clippers will only go as far as these two players can carry them. However, they are not the only players capable of making an impact on the roster. Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams are two of the best bench threats in the league and both are considered for the Sixth Man of the Year Award, Ivica Zubac has emerged as a reliable big man who thrives in pick-and-roll scenarios, and Patrick Beverley is an excellent defensive asset who can also orchestrate the offense when needed.
As if that wasn’t enough, the Clippers have also been an efficient unit on both ends of the court. They ranked second in offensive rating (113.3) and fifth in defensive rating (106.9) during the regular season while finishing second in net rating (6.3), only behind the Milwaukee Bucks. In other words, the Clippers were the second-best team in the league when it comes to advanced stats and not the win-loss record, and the only team that surpassed them featured the reigning league MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The impact of Doc Rivers can’t be underestimated, either. Rivers already knows what it’s like to win when it matters the most, and that kind of experience gets even more valuable in decisive stages. It is one thing to be a regular-season coach, and another completely different it is to be a playoff-tested coach. Rivers falls under the latter category.
If we mix all those ingredients together, then it seems the Clippers have what it takes to make a serious title run. The field in the Western Conference is stacked and could very well suffer an early exit if they don’t perform at a high level but, if they play at the same level they showed during the regular season, then they should be among the favorites to win the NBA title in the 2019-20 campaign.
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