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Far-Fetched Friday: The Los Angeles Clippers Will be Title Favorites by the End of Summer
By: Ryan Stein
This past season's title race was as open as it has been in a long time. There were 4-5 teams with a legitimate shot at winning the NBA championship, and barring an impossible trade of a top-tier superstar (Jokic, Giannis, Luka) to turn the tides for a franchise, next year will be just as competitive. Where do the Los Angeles Clippers fit into the equation? As of now, they are likely in the tier right below the top contenders. While the Clippers winning the championship next year wouldn't be the most shocking event to occur, there is still a bit of work to be done with the roster to vault them into the conversation with the league's best. Ultimately, I think the Clippers will make the moves necessary this off-season to improve the team, and by preseason they will be one of the title favorites in the NBA.
Welcome back to Far-Fetched Friday, where every Friday we give you a bold prediction that we believe will come to fruition. This Friday, we look at one of the other team in Los Angeles.
There are significant question marks for Los Angeles' roster, for sure. Kawhi Leonard is coming off a major injury that saw him miss the entirety of the 2021-2022 season. Paul George has injury concerns of his own. Any title hopes the Clippers have will rest on the shoulders of those two stars, and I believe they will finally be healthy enough to lead the upper echelon. While the roster will see some changes, as of now they have a couple guards who can shoulder some offensive burden in Norman Powell and Reggie Jackson.
If there's one area Los Angeles could use an upgrade, it's with their bigs. Ivica Zubac and Nicolas Batum are solid players, there's likely not a title team that would have both players in their starting lineup. Replacing one of those guys for a defensive anchor down low could be huge for the team. The Clippers were not a bad defensive team, but a versatile rim protector could make them a matchup nightmare on defense. Another area of focus could be to add a primary ball handler and playmaker. Jackson is more of a scorer than a passer, and George and Leonard are better served as secondary/tertiary ball handlers than primary. There's been rumors of the Clippers being interested in Kyrie Irving, but I personally don't like the fit. He's talented, for sure, but his behavior is unpredictable and he would be a third star on the team to have injury concerns.
To me, it's more likely the Clips go for a lower-tier star or high-end role players to shore up some of their weaknesses. Whatever they decide to do, they have an entire offseason to figure things out, and by the end of it, they will be considered, at least on paper, to be in the top tier of NBA teams.
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