With a young core and plenty of upcoming cap space, the LA Clippers are slowly giving us reasons as to why we should believe in their title chances.
The Lob City Clippers are dead and gone.
The Los Angeles Clippers have been on the rebuild since trading Chris Paul to the Rockets and Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons. The last member of Lob City, DeAndre Jordan, has been on his way out and this offseason finalized his intention to move to the Dallas Mavericks. The valuable players accumulated from trades of both Griffin and Paul has further proven Jerry West’s ability to rebuild teams. In a few years, LA may even stand atop the Western Conference.
NBA Draft Success
This year’s NBA Draft was an absolute success for the Los Angeles. Fans were first hesitant at the draft choices West and Lawrence Frank devised. However, acquiring Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ended up being one of the best decisions for the team’s future. 6-6 Gilgeous-Alexander was enormous in the Summer League, averaging 19 PPG while shooting 45.8% from the field. With the 13th pick, the Clippers selected Jerome Robinson. He, too, was impressive in Summer League, and should develop into an excellent complementary piece.
LA’s rise through the Western Conference will likely rely on their ability to defend this season. Their proven defensive power can be a major advantage for future free agent attraction next season. The offseason moves the Clippers are making focus mainly on defensive players on their roster. Recently, the small forward Luc Mbah A Moute returned to the Clippers from Houston on a one year contract, a defensive monster.
Avery Bradley also signed a two-year deal to return to the Clippers. Throw Patrick Beverley into the mix and in short, defensively the Clippers are a force, with or without acquiring a certain big-name free agent.
Free Agent Attraction
This next summer will be a very important chapter in the team’s history. The Clippers can attract multiple free agents for the 2019-2020 offseason. Currently, they’re projected to have enough cap space to sign two max players. Those two could be Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler, who reportedly want to play together.
More of a possibility is acquiring Kawhi Leonard as one of those free agents, he wants to be in LA and wants to be the focal point of a team. The Clippers are perfect for his situation and defensive capability.
With all of those things factored together, a picture can begin to become visible of how LA may be back in title contention very soon.