New Team, Same Vision: How the Clippers can become Contenders in 2017-18
Written By Rahul Lal
The Clippers lost their best player in franchise history in Chris Paul. There’s no replacing that. At the same time, they did find a nice way to bounce back and fill a few of the pieces and actually come back with more depth than ever before. As part of the trade that sent Paul to Houston, the Clips received defensive pest Patrick Beverley, former Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams, solid big Montrezl Harrell, and developing wing Sam Dekker.
That package might not sound that flashy but add in the signing of Danilo Gallinari to the already existing core of Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, and Austin Rivers and it’s still very effective. One of the most unique things to see in today’s NBA is the makeup of this team - with players usually being so versatile, this team has a lot of guys who specialize in a certain skill. For example, Beverley is a defender while Williams can score with ease. While Gallo and Blake are very versatile offensively, they don’t provide much on the other end. Now flip that for DeAndre Jordan.
One other offseason signing that should hold plenty of value is Milos Teodosic. If you don’t know who he is, check out his highlight videos right now. Teodosic might be the best passer in the NBA already though he doesn’t give you much else on the court. The Clippers will show off their new pieces in the form of deep lineups and plenty of roster depth this season.
This team is a veteran team and boasts a number of guys who have serious playoff experience and have been starters on contending teams - they’re not going down easy. The Clippers biggest opponent this season will be their own health. We’ve already seen Gallo take a play out of Blake Griffin’s playbook and break his hand punching an international opponent but with Griffin being a tremendous injury risk too, it’ll be tough to imagine a team led by DeAndre Jordan being a playoff contender.
The Clippers will need to keep their guys fresh because that’s the difference between a 50 win team and a 30 win team who sees Griffin and Gallo sit for a combined 40-plus games. The Clippers will be the biggest wild card for this season as they could wind up anywhere on the spectrum. Doc Rivers has been all over the place with his rotations in the past and this is the first year that it may be better to go deeper rather than trimming down the minutes for other players.