In a series many did not expect to be interesting, the Los Angeles Clippers put the league on notice in Game 2. After losing Game 1 to the Warriors, the Clippers completed a historic 31-point comeback to even the series.
While they likely won’t go on to upset Golden State, L.A. is in a great position, proving this season that they are arguably the best free agent destination this summer. As of now, the Clippers are ahead of the Knicks, Lakers and the rest of the NBA as the most attractive landing spot for star players.
Recipe for Success
At the helm, the Clippers are coached by Doc Rivers. Rivers has a .576 winning percentage as a head coach, and has won an NBA title with the Boston Celtics.
Rivers is known as one of the most well-respected coaches in the league. Having him as coach gives them an edge in that department over their cross-town rival.
For a loaded free agent class that includes Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and more, a co-star or two will be needed. L.A. already has one, and he comes off the bench.
Lou Williams‘ 20 points has been huge for the Clippers this season. Additionally, Williams has proven he can play well on the big stage, scoring 25 and 36 in the Clippers two playoff games thus far.
Outside of Williams, the Clippers have a roster complete to surround a superstar talent. Danilo Gallinari and Montrezl Harrell led the team in scoring other than the sixth man.
Young players like Landry Shamet and rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have both made an impact early in their careers for L.A., each contributing 10 points a game. These two will continue to progress, and will be part of the Clippers’ future as great role players if the team can get their hands on a big name free agent.
On the defensive end, Patrick Beverly has proven himself, locking down Kevin Durant. While he is an unrestricted free agent this summer, having him on the team gives the Clippers a key piece to a potential championship roster.
A great head coach, great management, one of the all-time great sixth men, a great supporting cast, and a lock-down defender. All the Clippers need is a superstar (or two).
While playing with LeBron and playing at Madison Square Garden are appealing, both franchises pale in comparison to what the Clippers have in place. New York has well-known management problems, and the Lakers crumbled before our eyes as Magic Johnson stepped down as president before the last game of the year. While both franchises will surely sign good players, the Clippers have everything going in their favor, besides a rich history.
After blowing up their team by trading Blake Griffin and Tobias Harris in a two-year span, the Clippers have re-tooled almost overnight. This offseason will be huge for the Clippers.
If they can secure one big name free agent, as well as some other pieces, the Clippers could make the jump from eighth seed to title contenders in less than a year.
Featured image credited to Getty Images.
Stats credited to basketball-reference.com.