by Chris Camello (@Chris_Camello)
LOS ANGELES – While there is strong belief that the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks are headed on a collision course to the NBA Finals, many shouldn’t overlook the L.A. Clippers.
Before this COVID-19 shutdown, the L.A. Clippers (44-20) had hit their stride. Their two stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were finally healthy at the same time; they added two veteran role players in Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson to an already deep roster; and finally built some chemistry and more importantly continuity.
All of those aspects allowed the Clippers to dominate some playoff-bound opponents and ascended to the two-seed in the Western Conference.
While many feel this is a crucial year for their crosstown rival Lakers to win it all because they have an older roster, the Clippers should also be feeling that same pressure to capitalize on a golden opportunity.
Leonard and George are both in their primes and finally healthy, however, neither has exactly been durable in recent years. Both are only under contract through the 2021 season before likely opting out. While it’s expected both will want to stay in L.A. and eventually move into the new Inglewood arena, there are no guarantees.
The Clippers also have impending free agents, such as Morris, Jackson, and Sixth Man candidate Montrezl Harrell. While billionaire owner Steve Ballmer has shown that spending money isn’t a problem, it’s unknown if they will all get that big contract from the Clippers.
It’s possible their roster could look different next season, so who knows what to expect from the supporting cast since their depth is such an X-factor. Not to mention the West will continue to get stronger and deeper meaning a tougher road to a title.
The Clippers have a chance to win it all this season (assuming it resumes) with some believing they can take down the Lakers and/or the Bucks. Just like those teams, this could be their best shot at a title.