The Los Angeles Clippers entered the season as one of the teams to beat after signing Kawhi Leonard and trading for Paul George and thus far, they’ve clearly lived up to the hype.
They’ve gathered even more talent along the way with the additions of Reggie Jackson and Marcus Morris and now that they were fully healthy, they were one of the strongest candidates to win the NBA Championship when the season resumes a week from now.
However, now Lou Williams has left the Orlando bubble to attend a family emergency, meaning Doc Rivers doesn’t have 5 of their 7 top minute-getters of the season right now, as Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley have already been excused, plus Landry Shamet and Ivica Zubac are yet to attend the campus.
With Lou Williams now out of the bubble, the Clippers are currently missing five of their top seven minutes-getters this season (Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are the two remaining).
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) July 24, 2020
“We give guys days off all the time… No one really notices it… the problem is usually with the life issues you can come back to the team the next day. Now you have to quarantine for 48 hrs or 4 days,” Doc Rivers said, as quoted by The OC Register.
The Clippers at least have Kawhi Leonard and Paul George back at full strength and practicing together, which is great news for them and terrifying for the rest of the league. Also, the rest of the players are expected to attend the campus at some point.
Still, Rivers has had to deal with this kind of situation all year long. The team just hasn’t been able to constantly practice together, either because of injuries, load management, and now because of this:
“This year so far, we really have not caught a great break as far as being able to work together. I got to say this team so far, they keep impressing – me as, well – with their ability to figure out a way of playing together even though we don’t have a lot of minutes on the floor playing together,” Rivers claimed.
Once the Clippers have all their players back, they’ll once again be one of the strongest contenders out of the Western Conference but the clock is ticking on them.