The Los Angeles Clippers are in a tough spot. They traded away Kawhi Leonard, one of the NBA’s best players, to the Toronto Raptors for DeMar DeRozan and some other pieces. Can they make it out of the first round without their star player?
The Los Angeles Clippers have a lot of question marks surrounding them this offseason. They lost their superstar Kawhi Leonard and many people are wondering how far they can go without him. Read more in detail here: clippers starters.
Having your top player out due to injury is obviously never a good thing. Especially when it is possible to do so throughout the whole regular season.
Last season, Kawhi Leonard suffered a knee injury in Game 4 of the second round of the playoffs against the Utah Jazz. Kawhi ended up missing the remainder of the playoffs after undergoing surgery to repair a partly torn ACL, which will keep him out permanently.
The Clippers showed the world that they can win without him by defeating the Jazz and going to the Western Conference Finals for the first time in club history, but they were defeated in six games by the Phoenix Suns. This was the Clippers’ best postseason performance in franchise history. One step closer to a title in the NBA. The issue is how much will Kawhi Leonard’s probable season-ending injury impact them.
An injury like this may take anywhere from 8 to 12 months to heal. And Kawhi Leonard is no stranger to taking his time recovering from injuries. With being said, The Klaw’s injury may keep him out until the playoffs.
Reggie Jackson, point guard
Reggie Jackson started his NBA career as a backup to Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City. He showed he could be a starter in this league towards the conclusion of his contract and inked a deal with Detroit. He had his finest season with Detroit, averaging 18.8 points per game and 6.2 assists per game.
He chose to move to the City of Angels and attempt to win a title after spending the bulk of his career there. Reggie averaged 10.7 points per game, 3.1 assists per game, and 2.9 rebounds per game with the Clippers last season. He was the starting point guard for the most of the season and had several key moments in the playoffs.
Reggie will have to step it up a level now that Kawhi Leonard is sidelined, as he will be the team’s second offensive option. Last season, he averaged 20.3 points per game, 3.7 assists per game, and 4.1 rebounds per game in the playoffs. Reggie Jackson will need to continue to play like this if the Clippers are to compete at a high level.
Eric Bledsoe, Shooting Guard
While Kawhi Leonard is out of the picture, Eric Bledsoe, a newcomer, will be the Clippers’ primary shooting guard this season. Many people believe Bledsoe to be a point guard, but he has experience in this position after spending last season in New Orleans with Lonzo Ball.
This strategy didn’t appear to work for the Pelicans, so I’m not sure why Ty Lue believes it would work here. This two-PG lineup is very small. Don’t be shocked if Luke Kennard or Terrance Mann eventually take over as the starting shooting guard.
Eric Bledsoe has had a rough year in New Orleans. He shot 42 percent from the field and averaged 12.2 points, 3.8 assists, and 3.4 rebounds per game. The fit wasn’t quite right with the Pelicans, and it’s not quite right here either. Bledsoe is better suited as a 6-man or a starting PG on a poor club at this stage in his career.
Paul George, Small Forward
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Paul George is in his third season with the Los Angeles Clippers. When the Clippers signed him and Kawhi Leonard, there were great expectations, but they have failed to deliver. The Clippers have long been one of the favorites to win it all, but injuries, playoff errors, and other factors have held them back.
Last year, PG-13 had a fantastic year. Some may even argue that it was his best. He put up 23.3 points per game, 6.6 rebounds per game, and 5.2 assists per game. He had his best shooting percentages of his career, shooting 48 percent from the field and 41 percent from beyond the arc.
Paul George has been chastised in the past for his postseason efforts. Whether it was in the 2019 playoffs, when he shot under 40% from the field, or other occasions when he turned into a ghost in crucial circumstances. This year, Playoff P has a lot to prove, and I think he will.
Marcus Morris is a force to be reckoned with.
Marcus Morris is a man you don’t want to mess with. It’s good to have someone to defend the team. When things become difficult or hot, you need someone to lean on. Although, in the playoffs, several of his moves on Luka Doncic were just nasty. Morris is a major contributor to the Clippers’ reputation as a tough squad.
Morris, on the other hand, is a capable starting PF in this league. He averaged 13.4 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per game last season. He also had a very high three-point percentage of 47 percent. Marcus will be a crucial component of the jigsaw in Los Angeles.
Ivica Zubac (center)
Ivica Zubac may be considered an underappreciated center in this league. He’s been a steady and effective center at just 23 years old, and he still has a lot of room for improvement. Throughout his career, Zubac has been just shy of a double-double. This is remarkable considering he only plays around 20 minutes each game on average. He averaged 9.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game last season while shooting 65 percent from the floor.
Zubac, on the other hand, has struggled to remain on the floor. One, as a result of his defense. Second, the Clippers like to employ small-ball lineups. In the pick and roll, he’s a liability, and when he’s switched to the guard, he’s exposed. In the 2019 playoffs, the Mavs did this a lot, continuously switching Zubac to Luka until they had to pull him out.
If Zubac can improve his speed and lateral quickness, he’ll see a lot more time on the court for the Clippers.
Jason Preston, Luke Kennard, Jay Scrubb, Keon Johnson, Brandon Boston Jr, Terance Mann, Justise Winslow, Amir Coffey, Nicolas Batum, Moses Wright, Harry Giles, Isaiah Hartenstein, Serge Ibaka, Terance Mann, Justise Winslow, Amir Coffey, Nicolas Batum, Moses Wright, Harry Giles, Isaiah Hartenstein, Serge Ibaka
Jason Preston, Keon Johnson, Brandon Boston Jr., Justise Winslow, Moses Wright, Harry Giles, and Isaiah Hartenstein are among the newcomers on the bench. Several rookies, followed by a few more who signed here during the off-season.
Terance Mann is the most essential player on the Clippers’ bench. During the recent playoffs, Mann established himself as a new player. For the Clippers, he had several excellent games and played a lot of minutes. He scored 39 points in a Game 6 victory against the Jazz. “He’s ready to take that step,” Ty Lue said recently in an interview. Just seeing him play over the past several weeks, I’ve been impressed by his maturity, his hard effort, and how much he’s improved his stroke.” Mann is clearly going to play a major part for the Clippers this season, and he may possibly start at some point.
Because Serge Ibaka will be out indefinitely due to back surgery, Harry Giles and/or Isaiah Hartenstein may be pushed for playing time early on. Serge had back problems throughout last season and underwent surgery in June to correct the problem.
Sharpshooter Luke Kennard, as well as youngsters Jason Preston, Keon Johnson, and Brandon Boston Jr., may all play a role. Then there’s Nicolas Batum, a seasoned NBA veteran.
How Will The Clippers Be Affected By Kawhi Leonard’s Injury This Season?
The Clippers’ championship hopes will undoubtedly be hampered by Kawhi Leonard’s injury. It’s a possibility if he’s able to return in time for the playoffs; else, it’s a no-go. In terms of the regular season, this club still has a squad capable of making the playoffs even without him.
Paul George must be a Top-15 player in order for this to happen. That is something he is capable of. He’s reached the playoffs every year of his career, and I don’t expect him to stop now. Paul George may have a year where he averages close to 30 points per game.
With Kawhi Leonard out, the Clippers will need a few other players to step up. Reggie Jackson will almost certainly be the team’s second leading scorer. He’s had seasons when he averaged 16 or more points per game in the past. Eric Bledsoe should fit in better in Los Angeles. Marcus Morris will keep doing what he does best: getting into your mind and hitting threes. Then there’s Ivica Zubac, who should improve this season.
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