The Los Angeles Clippers entered last season as the team to beat in the Western Conference - and most likely the NBA - yet somehow, they found the way to underperform when it mattered the most once again. Now, people are wary about their ability to bounce back.
Chemistry issues, lack of adjustments, no practice - sometimes at all - and big egos backfired for the Clippers. They had the deepest, most stacked team in the league, but they were dysfunctional all along, even if they looked like a defensive juggernaut from time to time.
And now that Doc Rivers is no longer in charge of them, some people think that they're no longer the powerhouse most thought they'd become, so you know that they'll play with a chip on their shoulder from start to finish. Here, we'll let you know about their projected starting lineup for the 2020-21 season.
Bench: Reggie Jackson, Ky Bowman, Jordan Ford, Lou Williams, Luke Kennard, Terance Mann, Jay Scrubb, Nicolas Batum, Rayjon Tucker, Malik FittsPatrick Patterson, Daniel Oturu, Mfiondu Kabengele, Serge Ibaka, Johnathan Motley
Point Guard: Patrick Beverley
Patrick Beverley has earned a reputation around the league for being a pesky, suffocating, and just asphyxiating backcourt defender. However, he's not the primary ball-handler and top-notch playmaker the Clippers need to run their offense.
Moreover, Beverley's reputation took a massive hit last season as he talked a lot of trash but couldn't back it up when it mattered the most, and some believe that the Clippers would be better off starting Reggie Jackson, who's a better scorer and creator.
Shooting Guard: Paul George
Of all the NBA players, Paul George's reputation was damaged the most last season. He choked in the playoffs and couldn't buy a bucket, let alone get a stop without fouling. Then again, we know he's just too good not to bounce back from those poor outings.
When healthy, Paul George is simply one of the most impactful players in the league. He can make a huge splash on both ends of the floor and he'll be extra motivated to silence his critics and even prove that last year's meltdown wasn't his fault.
Small Forward: Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard is fully healthy now so there's no reason to give him extra rest as he likes. The league established a new policy on resting healthy players so he has no choice but to comply and bring his A-game night in and night out for the full regular season.
Leonard is one of the best two-way players in the history of the game but even he underperformed during those final three games vs. the Los Angeles Clippers. He should be held accountable for the team's meltdown as much as Paul George or Doc Rivers, but we can also guarantee that he'll bounce back in a big way next season.
Power Forward: Marcus Morris
The Los Angeles Clippers will likely start Marcus Morris at the power forward spot next season after losing both JaMychal Green and Montrezl Harrell. Nonetheless, it could end up being a blessing in disguise for them, as Morris offers more versatility.
We already know that Marcus Morris can score in bunches when called upon. However, his defense is what stands out the most on his game, and his size, length, and strength will allow the Clippers to use him in a huge variety of ways.
Center: Ivica Zubac
Even though Ivica Zubac will start most games at center, it doesn't mean that he's going to close them out. He's good, sets solid screens, is a nice rim-runner, and can alter some shots below the rim, but Serge Ibaka is likely getting the nod in close games.
Ibaka is coming off his championship experience with the Toronto Raptors and is a much more versatile and dynamic player than Zubac, as he can pull up from beyond the arc, score from midrange, and defend multiple positions as well.