Are the Clippers a playoff contender? Is the lack of an All-Star on the roster concerning? Do they have a death lineup, and if so, who would feature in it?
The ‘Death Lineup’ or ‘Hamptons 5′ are expressions used to illustrate the success of the Warriors’ small ball lineup. Having prevailed in three of the last four seasons, this remains one of the most prolific and successful lineups in NBA history. High tempo ball movement on offense melded with multifaceted defenders with enough potential to defend numerous positions makes this lineup unique and a nightmare to face up against. Constituting uber offensive players in Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, All-NBA Defensive players in Andre Iguodala and Draymond Green accompanied by the 2 way sharpshooter in Klay Thompson; Steve Kerr found his recipe for success with the Dubs.
While teams were looking to match up against the Warriors by significant off-season moves, the startling inclusion of the four-time All-Star, DeMarcus ‘Boogie’ Cousins, blew these possibilities out of the water. In addition to offering a superior presence in the paint, he furnishes excellent scoring and playmaking in the low-post; something they have been craving for since the David Lee era. The existence of five All-Stars issues Kerr the privilege of tweaking his lineups based on necessity, hence possibly minimizing threats akin to the one provided by the Rockets last season.
So various questions arise — how could the Clippers, possibly a fringe playoff team on paper — counter the near invincible Warriors and their ‘Hamptons 5’ ? Do the Clippers have adequate assets to create their very own version of the ‘Death Lineup’ after remodeling their roster to breakout from the inadequacies of the ‘Lob City’ era ? Will the coach of the once ‘Heart and Hustle’ Magic prove to be a miracle worker yet again?
While these remain questions that tax the mind of Clippers fans, what they can take solace from is the depth they possess throughout the roster. While missing the presence of a star, they comprise a team packed with high-caliber role-players in every department, especially on the defensive end. The existence of specialists like Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Luc Mbah a Moute and Sindarius Thornwell would aid in the effortless transformation from the ‘Lob City’ era to the ‘Lock City’ era. Undervalued offensive hoopers such as Lou Williams, Danilo Gallinari, Tobias Harris, Mike Scott and Montrezl Harrell have indicated their expertise in being capable scorers in the past. Former European Player of the year, Milos Teodosic and a reliable big man in Marcin Gortat assist in ameliorating the roster. Ambivalent feelings on lacking promising youth players were instantaneously erased upon the selection of two high profile collegians in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson. Being kingpins of their respective universities, they unveiled their preparedness to complement one another’s game in the recently elapsed Summer League.
Taking these positives into account, let us try exploring the possible ‘Death Lineup’ the Clippers could feature for the forthcoming season.