Are Clippers betting favorites to win the 2020 NBA title?
It’s been a long, arduous spell in the NBA for the Los Angeles Clippers and their long-suffering fans. For too long, the Clippers have been existing in the shadow of the LA Lakers, who have been by far the most successful out of the two teams in recent memory. With five NBA championship titles to their name since the turn of the millennium alone, it’s safe to say that the Clippers have struggled to hold a candle to the Lakers.
Nevertheless, the tables finally appear to be turning in 2019-20. When it comes to the NBA Championship winner Moneyline for this season, the Clippers are narrowly ahead of their city rivals as the favorites to win the 2020 NBA Championship. It’s always hard to discount the Milwaukee Bucks too, especially with perennial MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo in their ranks.
However, the Clippers enjoyed one of their best offseasons in many years. The optimism among the Clippers’ fanbase has reached a fever pitch as finally the other half of LA prepares for its first slice of NBA success in the history of the franchise – aside from its two divisional titles in 2013 and 2014. There are three clear reasons why 2020 could finally be the Clippers’ time to shine:
The arrivals of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George:
It was certainly a very busy offseason for the Clippers’ hierarchy. Hopes for 2019-20 were certainly lifted when the franchise boldly went out and snapped up Kawhi Leonard from the Toronto Raptors, in a deal worth a reported $103 million.
Leonard played an influential role in the Raptors’ run to the NBA title against the Golden State Warriors earlier this year. Not only is Leonard a solid defender, but he is also lethal at the net, averaging more than 30 points a game last season. It’s easy to see why so many people consider Leonard to be the complete package and the most in-form player in the NBA at present.
Not content with one stellar offseason signing, the Clippers then moved to trade Paul George in exchange for Shai-Gilgeous Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, and several first-round draft selections. George is another player that is in the form of his NBA life at present, coming off the back of his best-ever season in 2018-19, also averaging 28 points and four assists per game for the Oklahoma City Thunder last term. There will be a lot of expectation on Leonard and George to maintain their form in a Clippers jersey.
The Clippers’ unstoppable perimeter defense.
It’s impossible to talk about the arrivals of Leonard and George without discussing their impact on the Clippers’ rearguard. Leonard, in particular, has twice been named Defensive Player of the Year, while George has long been regarded as one of the best perimeter defenders in the modern-day game.
In 2018-19, George racked up almost 300 pass deflections and a stunning 170 steals. The beauty of Clippers fans is that their existing defense is already pretty impressive. The likes of Patrick Beverley, Landry Shamet and Mo Harkless will only be buoyed by the addition of Leonard and George to the roster. If all the above can keep fit, it’s difficult to see any NBA offense having a field day against the Clippers.
Team chemistry that’s been building over time.
Last but by no means least, the Clippers’ unity and chemistry is something that should be applauded. It feels like the franchise has been building up to this moment for several years now. The bulk of their roster has been well-established for several seasons now and only a minor lack of quality at both ends of the court saw the Clippers fall to the Warriors in last season’s playoffs.
With the sprinkling of quality, the Clippers have added in the offseason, combined with their existing stars, the team chemistry and fluidity is sure to be just as strong, if not better, than 2018-19. With a coaching staff that contains people that know how to win NBA championships, including Tyronn Lue and Doc Rivers, the Clippers have all the ingredients of a title-winning franchise.