This season could bode well for the Clippers. the era Doc Rivers was over as the two superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George continued the adventure in the city of Angels, ambitions were high. And the first matches proved that the intentions were not tarnished. Lakers and Nuggets hooked on the hunting board with the manner then whammy, a dark Sunday at the end of December was going to call everything into question in the eyes of the public. A monumental and historic slap in the face of the Mavs by 51 points (73-124) revealed serious doubts and a return to the past. However, the Clips reacted very quickly, thanks in particular to Nico Batum and Serge Ibaka who are the cement of the group. Sure gestures, a serene presence and a serious impression of rebirth for our Frenchie, whatever role is attached to him, while his Spanish-Congolese understanding, despite a second half of the season missing through injury, has been very well integrated into the collective. The Clippers have thus secured the 4th spot in the West with an 18-4 between March and April, a performance that is all the more remarkable insofar as Kawhi and PG have multiplied the small glitches before the playoff campaign.
This postseason precisely will remain in all the memories of the fans. An absolutely stinging battle against the… Mavericks. Even 0-2 in the series, the Clipps have not given up. Kawhi made the powder speak, despite a Luka Doncic above everyone for his first playoff campaign, and allows his team to progress. In its wake, the whole collective follows the movement and plays fair. No time to breathe since the Jazz stands in the semi-finals of Conf ‘with the best record in the League. The Clippers drop the first two innings in Utah but survive in the next two. Kawhi and PG are untenable, Batum stabilizes everything while Reggie Jackson also confirms that Tyronn Read arrived with the fountain of youth in his suitcases. But here is the cataclysm. Leonard is not in the group. The diagnosis will fall later, the Fun guy suffers from a partial rupture of the knee ligament. But it does not prevent the Clippers from sublimating themselves, all with the manner and attitudes that could not leave anyone indifferent, to snatch the first qualifier in the Conference Finals. The series against the Suns testifies to a general exhaustion, despite two victories and a 5-star Paul George, the return of Chris Paul for the Suns and the performance of Devin Booker are too much to hope for more. A satisfying season all the same which bodes well for the future.
- The movements of the off-season
Arrives : Eric Bledsoe, Justise Winslow
Dparts : Rajon Rondo, Pat Beverley, Daniel Oturu, Demarcus Cousins
PG : Reggie Jackson, Keon Johnson, Jason Preston
SG : Eric Bledsoe, Terance Mann, Luke Kennard, Brandon Boston Jr
SF : Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Justise Winslow
PF : Marcus Morris, Nicolas Batum
C : Ivica Zubac, Serge Ibaka
PG : Reggie Jackson SG : Eric Bledsoe SF : Paul George PF : Marcus Morris C : Ivica Zubac
The absence of Kawhi Leonard will arise until at least April. No The Klaw for the regular season, we had to find solutions. After the revivals of Nico Batum and even Reggie Jackson, the front office will try to relaunch Eric Bledsoe, in total loss of speed in recent seasons. A daring choice which could turn out to be most fruitful given the room for maneuver at posts 1 and 2. Terance Mann, who was able to show himself during his first full season with the team. In addition to the external stations, the interior sector seems a little more worrying. Ivica Zubac suffered suffered against the strong men of the NBA paintings, Marcus Morris will bring more spacing than a real presence on the rebound and in defense. Hopes will be based on the return of Serge Ibaka, not yet confirmed but who is moving in the right direction according to the few statements heard on the sidelines of the training camp. obviously the undisputed leader will be Paul George who will have to come out with an MVP season and more to advance to the top NBA spots.
Nicolas Batum stands out as the natural leader of the bench and more broadly of the Angelinos locker room. In an experienced base, calm and reflection will therefore animate the second unit by Coach Lue. But the ardor of Terance Mann risks bringing that little extra to dynamite the opposing defenses. The future will tell the nugget will impose itself among the holders but the options are numerous for the staff. Justise Winslow will have a card to play on the exteriors without having any real pressure while the rookies Jason Preston and Brandon Preston Jr could take a few minutes depending on load management and any physical glitches. In summary, a balanced bench, slightly lacking in size, which the athletic qualities somewhat compensate for.
- Player to watch: Nicolas Batum (and Terance Mann)
Let’s be chauvinistic. After the season of rebirth and the historic Olympic Games for our Batman with a counter that still resonates in our ears, the 2021-2022 financial year will undoubtedly be that of confirmation. A marked and respected role as locker room boss, the now veteran, 14th year in the League, enjoys his corner, with physical qualities always well presented. The Frenchman will also be on the side of Terance Mann, who showed great things last year, especially in the playoffs, to make him an absolute X factor and multiply offensive threats.
– A group unchanged or almost. Bledsoe and Winslow arrive, Rajon Rondo, Pat Bev and Cousins leave. Minimal adjustments were made by the front office this summer An asset for a season that returns to the format of 82 games. After many years when the locker room exploded during the season, serenity appears to be a founding value of this group which lived through a playoff campaign strong in emotion and therefore essential to forge a real team spirit.
– Prolongation de Kawhi Leonard. The two superstars are under contract for the next 4 years. Even if it is not an assurance of absolute stability in recent times, the speeches remain positive and turned towards the future.
– Quality spacing. With many insides at ease at range, the gaps in the paint will be beneficial for the attacking qualities of George, Mann and later Kawhi.
– Too high ambitions? With the absence of Kawhi, the first place in the West seems difficult to reach. So be careful not to build up a certain amount of frustration so as not to spoil the progress that has been made.
– An interior sector not hard enough. With the return to business of the big men in recent years, the Clippers lack a reassuring presence in the paint. We saw against the Jazz and the Suns, in the playoffs, the limits of Zubac and other interiors who lack the size and hardness to resist the best pivots.
- Editor’s opinion
Finally the Clippers are going in the right direction. With a stabilized, quality group and a global franchise project, Los Angeles has a real second strike force to host the NBA Finals. Injury management will be paramount as the leaders seem to be bringing some serious peace to the dressing room. Paul George will have the mission to compete with the Giannis, Durant and other Jokic to win the title of MVP and snatch precious victories for the difference in the Top 4 in the West. It would not be surprising to see a few moves before the trade deadline to improve a somewhat light interior sector and thus erase the weak points of the team. With fierce competition for the top spots in the West, the Clippers will have a lot to do to continue their progress and finally reach the NBA Finals.
51 wins – 31 losses