The Los Angeles Clippers are off to a 2-2 start in the 2018-2019 NBA season and are already performing better than expectations.
The Los Angeles Clippers have been in the massive shadow of LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers since James joined the Lakers in early July. While Clipper fans are still faithful, the national media really gives no attention to the Clippers despite playing in the second-largest sports market.
That is just fine for the Clippers, who don’t need attention to win games and would probably rather surprise a ton of people with a playoff push.
A 2-2 start is way too soon to be talking about the playoffs, especially in the Western Conference. In the Eastern Conference, this is easily a playoff team as it stands right now. However, in the West, the Clippers have quite the teams ahead of them.
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The Clippers are much closer to being a playoff team than many people may think. In fact, the team is only one solid piece away from being a lock for the eighth-seed and even challenging for up to the sixth-seed.
The main reason for this is Danilo Gallinari and his health. If Gallinari can stay healthy, the Clippers present a dangerous challenge that should not be taken lightly. If Gallinari cannot stay healthy, well, there really would be no point in adding a star during the season.
Adding Jimmy Butler now becomes a polarizing idea for the Clippers, even if his attitude and actions are a concern (which they are to us).
Tobias Harris is playing at an all-star level and proved last season that he could perform at a high level for an entire season. Gallinari is healthy and has averaged 21.5 points and seven rebounds per game.
The team has the defense to maintain leads with a stellar defensive backcourt in Patrick Beverley and Avery Bradley and an exceptional defender down low in Montrezl Harrell. Harris and Gallinari have been good defensively thus far as well.
At first, this team looked to be a collection of role players that would all be good on different contending teams but would not be a good fit together.
Now, Harris and Gallinari have emerged as the team’s “stars” (although I still would not consider Gallinari a star). Add another star to that equation, especially one of significance like Butler, and all of a sudden the Los Angeles Clippers are one of the most polarizing teams in the NBA.
The front office certainly has the incentive to go out and add that missing piece towards a playoff push as well as future success. Now we have to wait back and see if that move is made.