The Big Three Are All Gone, Now What?
The slow departures of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan have been finally completed. The Clippers have nothing to show for this era, outside of some highlight dunks. They now take the court with a less star-studded lineup, but also guys that are still quality players. It won’t look the same as before, but this is a scrappy bunch. They will begin to try and retool, but the rebuild will not come like teams that are scratching at the 15-20 win mark. There is a small chance the Clippers can make the playoffs, but health will be key.
Is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander The New Face To Build Around?
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was drafted in this most recent draft, and is a backcourt option potentially for the future. There is a good chance he has a role to begin the year off the bench, and with the backcourt being not that durable, he could slip into a big role at some point throughout the year. It is hard to say that the Clippers are sold on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as being the point guard for the future, but they have some leeway with their options over the next few seasons. At the least he is projected to be an above average guard on both sides of the ball.
Can The Backcourt Stay Healthy?
Patrick Beverley played just 11 games for the Clippers last season, while Avery Bradley has played 46 and 55 over the last two seasons. This is not a great indicator for health coming into the year, and the Clippers have had bad luck overall with health in the last few seasons. If this backcourt cannot stay healthy, you will see a lot of Lou Williams like last season, but also newly drafted, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. They are carrying a lot of guards again this year, who will likely bounce up and down to the G-League at times creating at least some clarity.
Can Los Angeles Make A Playoff Push?
While the Western Conference is insanely tough, you have to think the Clippers are a part of that reasoning. They are not the greatest team in the conference, but looking between the two conferences, the Clippers would be a middling seed in the East. Doc Rivers is still one of the better coaches in the league, and they have quite a bit of depth. Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari are not the flashiest scorers, but they are solid at their position. If the backcourt can stay healthy, they will be pesky defensively against all those Western Conference guards out there.
Will Marcin Gortat Excel In Jordan’s Absence?
Minutes took a big drop for Marcin Gortat in Washington last season, going from 31 per game the year before to just 25. He averaged under ten points per game for the first time since 2009. With no DeAndre Jordan, it leaves a huge hole to fill. Gortat has the job early on, but Montrezl Harrell and Boban Marjanovic are lurking behind him in the depth chart. If Gortat can get back to averaging a near double-double, that will be a plus for the Clippers. If he continues to slip, the center position is going to be a wasteland.