The Los Angeles Clippers have a ton of expectations going into next season because the combination of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George should be enough to win a championship. Obviously, there are a ton of other factors that go into winning a title, including health, luck, and roster depth. Luckily for the Clippers, they have bolstered their depth last season and this offseason with some key signings.
The first couple of signings were Norman Powell and Robert Covington, two win-now players who compete on both ends of the floor. Powell has been a starting-caliber player for most of his career, and Covington has been on good teams in the past, including the Philadelphia 76ers and Houston Rockets. Of course, the Clippers have recently acquired former All-Star John Wall after the point guard’s release from the Houston Rockets.
Looking ahead, the Clippers look like one of the best teams in the league on paper and have a very impressive depth chart, to say the least. Here is what the Los Angeles Clippers’ depth chart will look like for the majority of the season and whether they will have enough to actually win it all at the end of the 2022-23 season.
John Wall, Reggie Jackson
The acquisition of John Wall gives the Los Angeles Clippers a legitimate All-Star in terms of intangibles, even if the point guard is past his prime with a long list of injuries in his past. But the last time we saw Wall, he averaged 20.6 PPG and 6.9 APG for the Rockets and had some big performances with the ball in his hands. Wall can be an excellent facilitator for a Clippers team that will have two superstars on the court.
Reggie Jackson will also have a big role for the Clippers, and his ability to slice to the basket and hit the outside shot will complement John Wall in the rotation. Head coach Ty Lue will love alternating between Wall and Jackson, two guards who can create their own shots or set up others. In terms of playmaking and floor leadership, the Clippers have definitely upgraded with the acquisition of John Wall because they have two capable floor generals.
Norman Powell, Luke Kennard, Amir Coffey
Norman Powell was a big acquisition by the Clippers last year, and he will have a massive role in defending the perimeter and also nailing outside shots. Last season, Powell averaged 19.0 PPG and 3.2 RPG on 46.1% FG, 41.9% 3-PT FG, and 81.1% FT. The shooting guard is an excellent shooter and defender, making him an excellent 3rd or 4th option on the team.
Luke Kennard’s job is to nail outside shots, and he will have a ton of opportunities to do so with Leonard and George on the floor. The shooting guard is a career 42.5% 3-PT FG shooter and is fresh off a season where he nailed 44.9% of his threes. Kennard can get hot, and his shooting will be needed whenever the starters are resting. Overall, the shooting guard depth for the Clippers is stacked with shooting and defense.
Amir Coffey was a late surprise last season because the shooting guard averaged 9.0 PPG and 2.9 RPG while nailing 37.8% of his threes. Coffey will be an excellent role player in games where Ty Lue needs energy and offensive ability, so he is a trustworthy bench player that will not halt an offense by any means. Expect Coffey to play a role that sees him show up for 15-20 MPG.
Paul George, Terance Mann
Paul George is a bonafide All-Star and has one of the best all-around games in the NBA. George averaged 24.3 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 5.7 APG for the Clippers last year, although he only appeared in 31 games. The year prior, George almost led the Clippers to the NBA Finals by posting a playoff average of 26.9 PPG, 9.6 RPG, and 5.4 APG. Next year, it is expected that George will put up similar numbers as the second-best player on the team behind Kawhi Leonard.
Backing him up is a hustle-first player in Terance Mann, who can nail the outside shot, play defense, and also scrap for loose balls. Mann is a fan favorite because he plays so hard and continues to get better on both ends of the court. Mann will probably not have the growth he would like because the team is competing for a championship, but he will still benefit from a team that is looking to go deep in the playoffs yet again.
Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, Nicolas Batum
The NBA is a positionless league at the moment, but Kawhi Leonard will start alongside Paul George in the frontcourt nonetheless. The former 2-time Finals MVP is a top-10 player in the world at the very least when healthy, and he can be a top-5 player when he is scoring the ball efficiently and locking down opposing players. Leonard has the size, experience, and skill to be the Clippers’ best player for a title run, and the team’s chances will greatly depend on whether Kawhi can return to the court at full health.
Marcus Morris signed a massive contract a few years ago, and while he might be overpaid, there is no doubt he is a capable scorer and defender. Last year, Morris Sr averaged 15.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 2.1 APG on 43.4% from the field and 36.7% from three. Morris is a very streaky shooter, but when he’s hot, he can be a game-winner almost singlehandedly. He just needs to take good shots and play defense consistently to maximize his effectiveness.
Newly acquired Robert Covington is another two-way forward that can make the three and also defend multiple positions due to his size and excellent basketball IQ. Covington averaged 8.5 PPG and 5.5 RPG last year on 37.8% from three with the Trail Blazers and Clippers. Next season, Covington will need to nail the three at a similar clip and also play defense consistently because the Clippers will need every player to step up in the biggest moments.
Finally, Nicolas Batum will bring his defensive versatility and experience to a team that can use both. Batum is a 6’8” forward that can stay with guards and forwards due to his excellent length and height. The Frenchman can also nail the three, as he shot 40.0% from deep last year. Batum will likely sign a contract that could be something similar to a 3-year, $30 million deal.
Ivica Zubac, Isaiah Hartenstein
Ivica Zubac signed a 3-year, $33 million extension to stay with the Los Angeles Clippers this offseason, and he will be the starting center going forward. Zubac is a 7-foot, 240 lb monster in the paint that actually has a decent post-game. The Clippers can feed Zubac for some touches during a game because the big man can come through on most occasions while also defending the rim consistently. Last season, Zubac averaged 10.3 PPG and 8.5 RPG.
Backing up Zubac is Isaiah Hartenstein, a player who brings size around the rim at the expense of defensive mobility. The big man struggles against quicker big men but can still come in the game and grab rebounds at an impressive rate. As a rim-roller and rebounder, Hartenstein will be a trustworthy role player whenever Zubac is on the bench for rest. Hartenstein averaged 8.3 PPG and 4.9 RPG for the Clippers last year and could return to the team if he wants to compete for a championship.
Can The 2022-23 Los Angeles Clippers Win The Championship?
Looking at the depth chart of the Los Angeles Clippers, it is obvious they are stacked in every position and have the talent to win it all. But it all depends on the health of Kawhi Leonard because he is the best player on the team and one of the most impactful stars in the league. Kawhi has a chance to be one of the few players ever to win a championship and Finals MVP with three different franchises, and he certainly has the talent to do so.
Assuming Kawhi returns to full form and averages similar numbers to the last season he played (24.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 5.2 APG), the Clippers have enough to compete for a title. His sidekick, Paul George, is one of the best two-way players in the world and will likely be a Hall of Famer when his career is up due to his excellent all-around ability. Together, Leonard and George can form one of the best duos in the NBA.
When looking at the depth chart, the Clippers have the role players to contend. Norman Powell and John Wall are two above-average players at their position, and Marcus Morris and Robert Covington have been in the league for a very long time. Reggie Jackson is a player that always seems to take his game to another level in the playoffs, so that is still another positive for the Clippers.
Of course, the Clippers benefit from having one of the best coaches in terms of in-game adjustments in Ty Lue. Lue has won a championship with LeBron James on the roster, so there is no reason he can’t do it again with players like Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the team. When looking around the league, it is hard to find a better coach than Lue overall, as there might be only a few, including Steve Kerr from the Golden State Warriors.
From top to bottom, the Clippers have what it takes to win a championship. Even the owner, Steve Balmer, is all-in for a title and has done a tremendous job in building a contender. There is no excuse for the Clippers if they do not win the title, as long as Leonard and George are healthy. If the superstars are at full health or close to full health, the Clippers can win it all. The additions of John Wall, Norman Powell, and Robert Covington will bolster the squad tremendously, and we should see the best version of the Kawhi Leonard-led Clippers next year.