12-11 • 6th in WESTERN CONFERENCE
The Los Angeles Clippers are an American professional basketball team that plays in the Pacific Division of the National Basketball Association's Western Conference. The Clippers were established in 1970 and they play their home games in Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The Clippers currently share their home floor with cross-town rivals, the Los Angeles Lakers, but it has already been confirmed that the Clippers will be moving to a newly-built stadium in the near future.
Since coming into the NBA picture in 1970, the Clippers have yet to win their first NBA title. While they have won the Pacific Division twice (2013, 2014), and the farthest this team has gone in the playoffs is the second round.
In recent years, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin have established themselves as two of the most iconic players in Clippers history. The likes of Elton Brand and Randy Smith (with the then-Buffalo Braves and San Diego Clippers) have likewise garnered legendary status within the franchise. For some, Bob McAdoo is considered as the greatest Clipper of all time.
Long known as LA's "other team," the Clippers have recently emerged as a true contender in the Western Conference. Their rise is widely attributed to the arrival of team owner Steve Ballmer, who purchased the franchise from Donald Sterling in 2014 for a record-breaking sum of $2 billion.
Prior to the start of the 2019-20 season, the Clippers changed the landscape of the NBA by bringing on then-reigning Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to LA as well as seven-time All-Star Paul George.
The Kawhi-PG era did not have the best of starts, though, with the Clippers unceremoniously eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs. The Nuggets came all the way back from being 3-1 down in the series to defeat the Clippers in the Western Conference Semifinals.
The Clippers splashed the cash on Marcus Morris, signing the 6-foot-8 forward to a four-year extension worth $64 million. It was a considerable amount of money, but in the end, it should be a decision that pays off for L.A. in the long run.
Last season, Morris averaged 10.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists in 28.9 minutes per contest as the team's starting power forward. The 31-year-old also brought in a certain toughness to the Clippers squad upon his arrival, and his veteran presence also served a key role in terms of the leadership he provided.
Keeping Morris on board was key in ensuring fluidity in the squad's starting lineup. The fact that they also gave up Maurice Harkless, two first-round picks, and a second-round pick in order to acquire Morris from the Knicks last February further emphasizes the importance of not letting Morris walk away for nothing.
The Clippers are going to field the same starting lineup next season with Patrick Beverley, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Marcus Morris, and Ivica Zubac. There are, however, going to be some considerable changes in their rotation, with Montrezl Harrell, Landry Shamet, and JaMychal Green all out of the picture.
L.A. was able to bring in Serge Ibaka and Nicolas Batum through free agency, while also adding Luke Kennard and Justin Patton via trade. Ibaka is a competent replacement for Harrell, while Batum and Kennard are key additions to the second unit.
More importantly, perhaps, with one (partial) season under their belt, we should expect a better, more cohesive Clippers side next season with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George leading the charge. Setting all the negative noise aside, the 2020-21 Clippers appear to be primed for a more formidable challenge this coming season -- on paper at least.
Montrezl Harrell opted to walk away from the Clippers to sign with the team's cross-town rivals in the Los Angeles Lakers. To make matters worse for the Clippers, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year winners two-year deal worth $19 million is quite the bargain for the Purple & Gold.
Taking everything into consideration, it seems that re-signing Harrell wasn't really in the hands of the Clippers. The 6-foot-7 big man seems to have already made up his mind about not wanting to remain with the franchise. The fact that he joined their most bitter rivals only adds salt to the Clippers' wounds.
Re-signing Harrell would have been nice -- after all, he was a key cog to their team last season -- but in the end, the Clippers may have not stood a chance in the first place, and their interior defense struggled at times with him down in the paint.
Much has been made about the Clippers blowing up their roster following their disappointing second-round exit last season. More than a few folks were campaigning for a Paul George trade, who himself was simply terrible in the playoffs. The general belief is that L.A. could trade away George for another superstar to pair alongside Kawhi Leonard.
At this point, however, that talk seems premature. There's no denying that George has his flaws, but let's not forget that he's been an All-Star in six out of the last seven seasons. Moreover, much like every other team last season, the unprecedented format of the coronavirus-struck campaign never really allowed the Clippers to get a full season in.
Paul George deserves at least another year (and a full season) with the Clippers before we even start talking about trading him to a different team.
With the Clippers already having a nucleus in place to win an NBA championship, it may not be necessary to pull off a blockbuster trade in the offseason. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are superstars, and any potential trade would likely need to involve a player that would fit in well with the current group of talent.
Montrezl Harrell, who himself deservedly bagged the Sixth Man of the Year award last season, was L.A.'s third best player last season. With him out of the picture, another former Sixth Man of the Year winner should emerge as the Clippers' next best bet behind their two superstars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Despite being 34 years young, Lou Williams is still one of the most potent offensive forces in the league today. Last season, the 6-foot-1 combo guard averaged 18.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 5.6 assists, while also connecting on 1.7 triples per game. We expect more of the same from Lou-Will this coming season.
Steve Ballmer purchased the franchise in 2014 after NBA commissioner Adam Silver forced former owner Donald Sterling to sell the team. Ballmer is a former CEO at Microsoft.
Tyronn Lue is the new head coach of the Clippers heading into the 2020-21 season. He took over the job after the team’s disappointing exit in the second round of the 2020 NBA playoffs, replacing long-time coach Doc Rivers. Lue served as an assistant on Rivers’ staff in 2019-20.
Chauncey Billups, Dan Craig, Kenny Atkinson, Larry Drew, Roy Rogers, Brendan O'Connor, and Jeremy Castleberry are the Clippers' assistant coaches.
Despite recently parting ways with the team, it's hard to argue against the notion that Doc Rivers still remains to be the greatest Clippers head coach of all time. He currently holds the record for most wins in both the regular season (351) and the playoffs (27). Rivers was at the helm during the celebrated Lob City years, which is one of, if not the, most successful eras in franchise history.
Mike Dunleavy Sr. holds the record for second-most regular season wins for the team (215) behind Rivers, and he should most certainly be considered as an all-time great. Two other former coaches that deserve a mention here are Jack Ramsay and Vinny Del Negro.
It's a toss up between Chris Paul and Blake Griffin as to who is the Clippers' GOAT. The former will go down in history as one of the best point guards ever, but it was Griffin who was the star of the show for the Lob City era in L.A. Regardless of who you're taking between these two legends, there's no denying that both of them contributed significantly to the overall success of the team.
We turn the clock back for our third player on the list: Bob McAdoo. Despite being mostly known for helping the Los Angeles Lakers to a title later on in his career, it could be argued that he had his best years with the Clippers.
Similarly, Elton Brand played for a number of teams in the NBA, but it was with the Clippers that he established himself as one of the best big men in the league.
We're taking DeAndre Jordan as our number five guy for the role he played in the Lob City years -- arguably the most successful era in Clippers franchise history.
Kawhi Leonard is going to be a Hall of Famer, and maybe even Paul George. Nonetheless, neither of them has done enough to make it on our list after just one season in Los Angeles.
If we were to list our Top 5 greatest Clippers of all time, then it would go like this (probably in this particular order): Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Bob McAdoo, Elton Brand, and DeAndre Jordan.
Aside from these five greats, there are also a few other names that have earned legendary status for their respective contributions to the franchise.
From the '70s we have Randy Smith, World B. Free, and Bob Kauffman.
The '90s starred the likes of Danny Manning, Ron Harper, Eric Piatkowski, and Gary Grant.
Finally, Corey Maggette and Chris Kaman were a couple of names that made their impact during the 2000s.