The LA Clippers have been dogged by well being points all through the 2019-20 season, however Ovie Soko backs them to fulfill their excessive expectations – ought to the NBA resume play – within the playoffs.
Season document: 44-20
2nd place in Western Convention
Everybody had a whole lot of excessive expectations for the Clippers this season and I do not assume they’ve let anybody down. They’ve had a stable marketing campaign and they’re undoubtedly one of many favourites to come back out of the West. However we needed extra consistency from them when it comes to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George enjoying.
The 2 Clippers superstars have performed simply 18 video games collectively this season. We’ve got heard a lot about Leonard’s load administration and it appears the Clippers have taken the identical stance with George. That is the one let-down, if you wish to name it that.
Regardless of that, Leonard has been the Clippers’ participant of the season thus far. It simply nags at me that the well being points and cargo administration imply we do not get to see him play each recreation. I believe followers begin to get annoyed at a sure level.
Kawhi is a superb participant, definitely of 1 the very best within the NBA for the time being, however what makes gamers actually nice is the consistency, the flexibility to do it night-in and night-out. Each street journey, there are individuals who will journey simply to see him play. From a fan’s perspective, you may see how that may go away some folks feeling somewhat bit disenchanted.
Clippers ahead Montrezl Harrell has improved year-by-year since coming into the NBA in 2016. This season he has continued that pattern. He hasn’t made fairly as massive a soar as, say, Miami Warmth heart Bam Adebayo however he has steadily improved. He has added little items to his recreation.
Harrell now has extra methods to attain, it is not simply off pick-and-rolls and alley-oops. Now you’re seeing him begin to take massive males off the dribble the place he has a bonus on the ‘5’ place as a result of he can use his quickness and somewhat little bit of ball-handling too.
I additionally love what Lou Williams brings to the group. The distinction this 12 months is that we now have seen him convey it on the defensive finish, which is all you may ask for once you’re speaking about an out-and-out scorer.
Through the season, the most important enchancment the Clippers made as a group was on the defensive aspect of the ball. They got here into the 2019-20 season with a brand new roster having made a whole lot of massive modifications. However probably the most spectacular factor I noticed from the Clippers was their effectiveness on protection.
Sure, they’d a few defensive shockers in January towards the Grizzlies and the Knicks and so they haven’t got a 7ft rim protector however they’ve so many guys capable of guard completely different positions. They’re very cell defensively and that’s one thing that can profit them within the playoffs if the season resumes.
Due to the damage and well being points, the Clippers have been enjoying catch-up this season however I believe this prolonged regular-season hiatus works into their favour. It might give them the time they should get the roster absolutely wholesome and never sit guys out each different recreation. However it additionally places strain on these guys to truly play. In the event you come again now and gamers are nonetheless taking sure video games off, there are actually no excuses at this level.
Additionally they made important modifications on the February commerce deadline bringing in Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson and we have not had sufficient time to see if these modifications have been the appropriate strikes.
Finally, playoff time will inform us in the event that they have been the appropriate modifications to make. Some folks will say they already had a good-enough squad to win however they’ve added a little bit of toughness which I like. However I would not have stated they weren’t a tricky group earlier than that.
Enchancment-wise, Patrick Beverley should constantly be a stable level guard, in addition to being a pest on protection. I am eager to see how that can play out as a result of at playoff time the purpose guard place is big. Each group that has gained a championship has had an excellent level guard or at the very least one who can management the tempo of the sport. Will Beverley be capable to do this come playoff time?
We all know Beverley’s protection will make issues uncomfortable for opponents however playoff video games imply possession basketball. In addition to getting essential stops, he additionally wants to have the ability to gradual the sport down at occasions and make the appropriate performs and calls.
How good would a completely wholesome Clippers squad be within the playoffs? I’ve stated all season I believe the Lakers will take all of it the way in which however I do know the Clippers would give them issues.
If that match-up does occur within the playoffs, the Clippers are very able to beating the Lakers. I would not wager on them to do it however they’re a greater than succesful group.
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