If you love basketball, it’s easy to watch the Los Angeles Clippers. Their offense was one of the best in franchise history. The team shares the ball, makes their three-pointers like there’s no tomorrow, and just finds a way to score anyway thanks to center Ivica Zubac, microwave Luke Kennard, consistent Terrence Mann, and of course their two best weapons, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
This Clippers team is gifted offensively and is on another level this season.
If you want to turn that into statistics, here’s how you support their offense: The Clippers have the best offense (119.8) and sixth-best defense since the All-Star break. They are coming off their fourth tough game of the season, but they are 32-16 and on their way to becoming the best offensive team in history. They make 40% of their 3-point shots and 80% of their free throws. You could say that Tai Liu and his coaching staff have worked wonders for this team, at least so far.
The Clipper culture seems more authentic. Leonard and George have been consistent, while players like Mann, Kennard (at least since the All-Star break), Nicholas Batum, Zubak and the rest have bought into the system. While this could be important and could mean they are heading in the right direction, they still have a lot to prove.
In any case, they can do so without necessarily expanding their list.
No, they don’t need a center, because Zubac, Ibaka, and sometimes even Marcus Morris can hold that position. LaMarcus Aldridge of Brooklyn or Gorgui Dieng of San Antonio could have helped them, but both players chose to go elsewhere. Right now, if the Clippers are going to do it, they could be looking for someone willing to take on a smaller role and compete for a championship. Usually these candidates are veterans who have yet to play in the playoffs.
After all, the Clippers don’t necessarily need to acquire anyone in the acquisition market. That’s why this story started with what their system and game looked like. At this point, they need to continually refine their chemistry (on and off the floor), fix their problems in late games (which may be why they added Rajon Rondo), buy into and trust their system, and build mental toughness – so they don’t collapse when the going gets tough in the playoffs.
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The Clippers have two spots available on the roster, so it will be interesting to see who the Clippers will focus on in the coming weeks.
Who can they look to in this day and age? Right now there are three interesting players for them:
1. Otto Porter Jr.
Orlando Magic forward Otto Porter Jr. is currently on a rebuilding team, so his talents could be wasted. The Magic are clearly not in a battle to win, which won’t help Porter get his new contract. He’s a type 3 and D player who could increase the Clippers’ chances at this point. He can score, rebound and be someone to throw to the opposing wing.
Porter can contribute, especially if Leonard and George have the weekend off.
2. Kelly Olink
Kelly Olinck is now with the Houston Rockets, who are clearly recovering from the James Harden trade saga. The Rockets are not currently on a winning streak and must build around Christian Wood, who was impressive this season before his injury.
While he may struggle defensively, Olink can certainly stretch the floor for the Clippers, add to his already impressive 3-point shooting and just be an offensive threat. Olink has also played a lot of playoffs and his experience can help the Clips.
3. Avery Bradley
Like Olink, Avery Bradley was also traded to the Rockets in a deal with Victor Oladipo. Despite his absence due to injury, Bradley could now be a useful contender for the championship given the state of his career. He’s a perimeter defender and someone who can give the Clippers a 3-pointer or a 2-pointer. Bradley is a veteran who might be motivated to win a title now, given what he’s been through in his career. A reunion with the Clippers could be the perfect story for him.
Around the 14th. To fill a spot on the roster, the Clippers have three options: First, they can sign someone in the acquisition market before the end of the season. Second, they convert two-way sniper Ameer Coffey to a full contract so he can fill the last spot. Or they could take someone on a 10-day contract. Everything they do is currently optional for them – it’s more or less a procedural requirement.
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