The Los Angeles Clippers have surprised many with a hot start to the season, a hot start that has completely shifted the potential ceiling of this team.
Hand up, I was one of the people that doubted the Los Angeles Clippers heading into the 2018-2019 NBA season. With no true star on the team and the fact that the Clippers play in the deep Western Conference, I really believed that the Clippers would be a bottom-five team in the league.
Anything can happen still and the last thing I want to do is jinx the Clippers and have them fall off the table and become a bottom-five team in the league. And while it is too soon to concretely say that the team will be this good all year, the Clippers have been so impressive thus far.
The Clippers currently stand third in the Western Conference with an 11-5 and have won five games in a row. Those five games have been against formidable foes as well as the Clips started the streak against the Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs.
It is still early and the current standings in the Western Conference will not stand. The top three teams are the Portland Trailblazers, Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Clippers. While the Clippers have been great, chances are the top three will be vastly different.
Or the Clippers could very well still end up in the top three. Out of all three teams in the top, the Clippers are probably the hardest team to gauge. The team is not built like the traditional elite team in the NBA but has a stellar defense and so much depth.
That recipe always translates to regular season success. It will be interesting to see how much success it translates to in the postseason.
The Clippers ceiling is very subjective. Some biased fans might think that the team could be any team in a seven-game series after this winning streak. Others probably think that the Clippers won’t make the playoffs at all.
Personally, and while this might not still well with some fans, I think the ceiling of this team is making the playoffs. I do not think the Clippers can advance out of the first round of the playoffs, simply based on how playoff series work.
Chances are the Clippers will eventually level out and finish with the sixth to the eighth seed in the Western Conference. Depending on how things go, that could mean facing the Warriors or an assortment of either the Lakers, Rockets, Blazers or Pelicans.
As we saw last year, the Western Conference playoffs are so close and the exact seeding may not be determined until the last day of the season.
All of those teams listed have a superstar. As good as Tobias Harris is, he is not a superstar. Depth definitely helps in an 82-game series but the playoffs are driven by superstars. Just look at LeBron James and the Cavaliers last season.
Because of that, and the inexperience on the Clippers roster, it is hard to see them beating any other playoff team in a seven-game series. While the Los Angeles Clippers will push any team to their limit, they are not quite there yet.
However, the Los Angeles Clippers are already much closer than many people (including myself) thought.