Checking in on the Clippers’ Emergency Reload

The Los Angeles Clippers had themselves a successful regular season. They won 49 games and finished second in the West, and looked primed for a postseason battle with the Lakers. Instead, they ended up (embarrassingly) blowing a 3–1 lead, to the Denver Nuggets in the second round. It ruined the opportunity to finally see both Los Angeles teams play against each other in the Western Conference Finals.

It was one of the worst ways imaginable to end a season that had many saying they were the favorites to win it all. For several years now, the Clippers have had the talent to win a championship, but no matter what, no matter who’s on their roster, they eventually implode in the playoffs and find themselves back at square one.

During the regular season, the team barely played together due to a combination of injuries and load management. But they managed to have a successful season and remain near the top of the standings. In the Orlando bubble, Sixth Man of The Year Montrezl Harrell had to leave because of a death in his family. Lou Williams, also left at one point, because of a close friend’s death. While in Atlanta, he decided to go to Magic City, which was not the best idea considering he’d be going back to the bubble and had to quarantine, and he missed multiple games as a result.

After yet another lackluster performance in the playoffs, it was obvious something was going to change with the team. Doc Rivers and the Clippers ended up parting ways, and now he’s the coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. The Clippers hired former assistant coach Tyronn Lue to succeed Rivers as their new head coach.

The Clippers still have questions to answer though. Will sixth man Montrezl Harrell still be with the team? He will become an unrestricted free agent, so there’s a strong chance he could end up somewhere else. According to Shams Charania Harrell and the Clippers have mutual interest in a new deal. While they weren’t consistent in the playoffs, he and Lou Williams have become a lethal bench duo that proved key to the team’s regular-season success.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are the team’s superstar duo. Leonard was (mostly) as good as everyone thought he’d be. George’s struggles came in the playoffs, but he eventually broke through his demons and started to look like himself again. He talked about the fact that he was dealing with depression and anxiety. The bubble proved to be one helluva tough place for so many of the players, so George’s openness about his mental health was important and refreshing.

Unfortunately, both of them disappeared in the fourth quarter of Game 7, leaving the door open for the Nuggets to win the series.

Reports came out that after the Game 7 loss against the Nuggets that George gave a speech about perseverance that was apparently met with eye rolls. It’ll be interesting to see if the entire team can create better chemistry for next season. They had a little too much cockiness and pettiness throughout the season that they’d yet to really earn.

For the last several years, the Clippers have had fantastic teams which included Chris Paul and Blake Griffin early on. The one thing they couldn’t do is perform at the highest level to earn themselves a championship.

This offseason, they need to keep looking for ways to improve the team. Whether they trade away one of their superstar duo or break up their bench, they need to do something that’ll hopefully take them all the way next season. When they traded for George, they traded like 75 draft picks, so developing via draft is really not going to happen. No matter what they do, they’ll also need to develop great chemistry. Perhaps, the kind of chemistry that the Lakers had that got them their 17th championship……hehe.

(Site Owner’s Note: Karin is a Laker’s fan and I’m a Celtics fan and she ha earned one year of bragging, not a day more.)

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