For the entirety of their existence, the Los Angeles Clippers have always been looked at as the “younger brother” to the Los Angeles Lakers and rightfully so. While the Lakers were winning championships and adding banners to the Staples Center, the Clippers were stuck in mediocrity.
The numerous blunders that the Clippers have made from drafting Michael Olowokandi to the incident with Donald Sterling and the failed Lob City era, you can see why they have this persona about them.
But, it seems to be looking up for the Clippers and this persona looks to be coming to an end soon.
The Clippers had one of the best, if not the best offseason in recent history, signing Kawhi Leonard and then trading for Paul George. With these moves, everyone has made them title contenders and that claim has been rightfully earned.
Here is why the Los Angeles Clippers will win the NBA Championship.
Kawhi Leonard & Paul George
As stated, the Clippers went out and signed Kawhi Leonard and traded for Paul George. Kawhi Leonard is coming off a stellar season where he led the Toronto Raptors to an NBA Title over the Golden State Warriors. Words can’t even describe Kawhi’s illustrious playoff run this past season where he averaged 30.5 points per game and hit big shot after big shot. Kawhi Leonard is a player who a lot of people are calling the best player in the NBA as of right now and we’ll see if he can replicate the success he had last season.
The Clippers were also able to pull off a mega-trade, acquiring Paul George from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and a plethora of first-round picks. This is a trade that had surprised everyone and rightfully so. Paul George last season had by far his best season of his NBA career, putting up 28 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists per game while being arguably the best defender last season.
With all this being said, the Thunder season ended in anguish as they lost in 5 games to the Portland Trail Blazers by a buzzer-beating, series-winning three from Damian Lillard. With Paul George and Kawhi Leonard just entering their primes, this type of production that we saw from them last season is something that they should continue to do as long as they stay healthy.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are, without question, two of the best perimeter defenders in the league. Kawhi Leonard is a two-time DPOY and someone who has had his defense compared to Michael Jordan due to his quick thinking and his enormous hands. Last year, Kawhi’s defense did take a dip but that was due to him taking on a large offensive load and when it mattered most, he stepped up.
Paul George has always been a great perimeter defender, but his defense has improved tremendously since being traded to the Thunder. This past season, Paul George lead the league in steals (170) and pass deflections (292). Now that these two are playing together, the offensive load should decrease for both as they will help each other on that end which means better overall defense from the two. This pair of perimeter defenders is the best that we have seen since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen.
The Clippers also have many good-great defenders on the team. Patrick Beverley is a pest on defense and has made the all-defensive team twice. This team also has Mo Harkless and Landry Shamet, two good defenders in their own regard and it is said that the Clippers are the front-runners to land Andre Iguodala. Nonetheless, this defense is scary and should be one of the best, if not the best next season.
The Clippers have something that the Lakers don’t really have and that’s chemistry. Though the Lakers were able to keep a ton of their guys from last season, they added a ton of other guys such as Danny Green, Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard, and DeMarcus Cousins, just to name a few.
The Clippers, on the other hand, already had a team established and had their core set when they signed Kawhi and traded for PG13. This team last year made it to the playoffs as the 8th seed and took the Warriors to 6 games off of grit, determination, and team play. This team play and chemistry will be valuable throughout the season as the Clippers have said they plan to rest both Kawhi and PG for a good chunk of the season which will, in turn, make them fresh for the playoffs.
I didn’t even discuss the rest of the team. The Clippers also have the best bench duo in the league in Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams. Trez really came into his own on the Clippers after being traded from the Rockets and Lou Will has won the 6th Man of the Year Award 3 times in his career. This added on to the fact that the Clippers have a great organization led by Jerry West and a coaching staff that includes championship-winning personnel in Doc Rivers and Tyronn Lue, you can see why this team is the favorite to win the NBA championship.