The Los Angeles Clippers Proved to be More than Expected This Season

 Los Angeles Clippers' Montrezl Harrell, left, and Danilo Gallinari, celebrate after a 112-107 overtime win over the Memphis Grizzlies earlier in the season, in Los Angeles. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)
Los Angeles Clippers’ Montrezl Harrell, left, and Danilo Gallinari, celebrate after a 112-107 overtime win over the Memphis Grizzlies earlier in the season, in Los Angeles. (Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

By Cameron Buford, whatsgoodinsports.com

At the start of the NBA season, the outlook of the Los Angeles Clippers wasn’t terribly exciting. With the league’s best player relocating to the team across town. Many of the minds and attention of basketball fans in Los Angeles, and the NBA for that matter, shifted In that direction. This was just fine with Head Coach Doc Rivers and his hard-working team, as the lack of attention allowed them to develop into a unit and be ready for prime time when that time came.

Coming into the season the Clippers appeared to loaded at certain positions. Danillo Gallinari and fellow forward Tobias Harris were in consistent competition for shots and playing time. Rookies Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson both were competing for playing time with veterans Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams. They also started the season with Marcin Gortat, Boban Marjanovic and Montrezl Harrell competing for playing time in the low post.

Just before the trading deadline, the Clippers traded Boban Marjanovic, Tobias Harris and Mike Scott to the Philadelphia 76ers for Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala and rookie Landry Shamet, who was the 26th overall pick of last years draft. The Clippers then were able to swap Mike Muscala for their new starting Ivica Zubac with their cross-town rivals, in a trade that they didn’t even initiate. The addition of Zubac rendered Gortat expendable.

Once those deals were complete, the Clippers new lineup of Gilgeous Alexander, Patrick Beverley, Landy Shamet, Danilo Gallinari and Ivica Zubac ranked third in the NBA in Net efficiency, by outscoring their opponents by 9.2 points per 100 possessions. The Clippers also ranked fifth in the NBA and second in the Western Conference in fourth-quarter net rating this season. Some saying this has been Doc Rivers best coaching job of his illustrious Hall of Fame coaching career.

Doc Rivers won the Coach of the Month award in October and November as the Clipper jumped out to a Western Conference best 15-6 record to start their season. Doc ranks second among active coaches in regular season wins. Additionally, he is ranked the second-winningest coach All Time, among active coaches that have coached over 1000+ games.

Clearly, this team was coached well and the Clippers played with tremendous heart throughout the season. Evidence in this was their ability to bounce back from large deficits. The Clippers are the only team in the past 20 to win multiple games in a single season, in which they trailed by 25 points or more. This wasn’t limited to the regular season either, if you recall they mounted a 30+ comeback against the back to back champions in round 1 of this year’s playoffs.

Assisting the Clippers in their ability to make these continuous comebacks is their tremendous bench players. 2-time Sixth Man of the Year Award Winner Lou Williams has been assisted by Montrezl Harrell, for which a seventh man of the year award could be named. According to Elias Sports Bureau, these two guys combined for 36.9 points per game, which is the highest scoring average for any reserve duo

coming off the bench. Respectively, Williams and Harrell ranked first and fourth in bench scoring in the NBA this season.

By taking to the defending champions to 6 games in the first round of this season’s Playoffs, the Clippers 2 wins in their series are something no other team has been able to do in the defending Champions current championship run. With more growth and continuity, these Los Angeles Clippers are in prime position to capture the hearts and minds of basketball fans in the Los Angeles market moving forward. Please share your thoughts on the Clippers future potential with us by commenting in the comment section of this article on www.whatsgoodinsports.com or reaching out to us on twitter @whatsgoodinsports. Your thoughts and feedback are very much welcomed and appreciated!