After spending most of last season as an afterthought, the Los Angeles Clippers are poised to make some real noise in the Western Conference next season.
With Kawhi Leonard and Paul George healthy, they will have a core nucleus capable of competing with the best in the world.
And, according to Tyronn Lue, his squad will have a real shot to win a title in the upcoming season.
“We stack up with the best,” Lue said. “If we’re healthy, we’re one of the best teams in the league and we’re gonna be one of the teams that’s gonna have a real shot at winning the championship. Our main thing has been health over the last couple seasons and just getting everybody back now, hoping we all can stay healthy, but we definitely match up right there at the top with the teams that can win a championship.”
Obviously, the Clippers still have a lot to prove. Since the start of the Kawhi and PG era, the team hasn't done much in terms of winning in the postseason.
But the hope is that, with a fully healthy squad, they can finally live up to expectations and command some respect from their Western Conference peers.
"I think the Clippers are clearly the best team in the West with everybody available and on the court," said NBA analyst Tim Bontemps. "They spent all last season stockpiling players, stockpiling assets to be ready to go when Kawhi Leonard and Paul George will be healthy. They add Norman Powell, they add Robert Covington, they bring back Nicholas Batum, this team can play any way you want to play, they have a championship-winning coach in Ty Lue... I think the Clippers have everything required to be a championship team."
So, in the race for the Western Conference crown, do not overlook the L.A. Clippers. After a season of irrelevancy, they are ready to compete at the highest level again.
We will see soon how well they are able to perform with so much going their way.