Has everyone finally woken up and acknowledged that the Clippers might just be a team to be reckoned with this season? After many in the NBA media circles deemed the Clips a bottom-barrel Western Conference squad this season, they have jumped out to an impressive 10-5 record and have wins over some of the NBA’s elite. They are doing this with a combination of study defense and hyper-efficient offense, frustrating teams and showing that chemistry is still a huge factor in today’s star-driven league. Without a “big name” star, the Clippers are humming along. They are an exciting team that is in every game, and never gives up. They also have three players averaging over 19 points a game and have the best bench in the league. Who would have anticipated this going into the season? After a 3-0 week, let’s take a look and see where some in the NBA media have the Clippers placed.
This week: 8th, Last week: 14th
Notes: “In two short seasons, the team everybody loved to hate restyled itself as the team everyone loves to love. And what’s not to love: The Clippers are riding a four-game winning streak with Lou Williams as their smooth closer, Montrezl Harrell the lunch-bucket energizer, Tobias Harris the workmanlike star, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander the tantalizing rookie, Danilo Gallinari as the comeback kid, Boban Marjanovic the folk hero and, as irritants go, even Patrick Beverley is comparatively likable.”
This week: 6th, Last week: 10th
Notes: “The Los Angeles Clippers are this week’s “don’t overthink it” team, as there are plenty of red flags to consider and means toward which regression feels imminent. Fortunately for L.A., which bested the Bucks on Saturday and the Warriors on Monday (both in overtime), we won’t worry about iffy rim protection stats or the limited ceiling of a starless team.
Knock off a pair of possible Finals participants in a row, and you get a reprieve from nitpicking.
Montrezl Harrell has been a high-energy force all year. His 26 points and nine rebounds were key to beating the Bucks, and Los Angeles wouldn’t have defeated Golden State on Monday without his 23 points, eight rebounds and four blocks.
The success of Harrell, a mostly unheralded player who understands his role and gets by on max effort, is a nice little representation of his team. The Clips keep logging wins against quality opponents, despite the lack of a marquee name. L.A.’s net rating is eighth in the league.”
This week: 1st (!), Last week: 6th
Notes: “The Clippers aren’t going away. They’ve had a favorable early schedule in regard to rest-advantage games, but 12 of their 15 opponents are currently over .500. Their four-game-winning streak includes wins over Milwaukee, Golden State (in which they played a role in possibly breaking up the Warriors’ dynasty) and San Antonio, along with a comeback from 15 points down in Brooklyn. They blew double-digit, fourth-quarter leads against both the Warriors and Spurs, but have shot well in the clutch (effective field goal percentage of 55 percent, 20-for-22 from the line) as they’ve won their last five games that were within five points in the last five minutes.
They rank second offensively in November (they’re the only team that has shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range this month) and finish their three-game trip against two of the six worst teams in the league.”
This week: 15th, Last week: 18th
Notes: “If it were solely based on their record, LAC would be higher than this. But I’m not buying stock in them yet. Seems likely they will fade back into the lottery-bound pack.”
Quick Author Note: The guy who writes these rankings continually disrespects this team and seems as though he has not watched a single Clipper game. Wack.
This week: 12th, Last week 13th
Notes: “Tobias Harris is having an efficient season, scoring 20.7 points per game, and shooting nearly 42 percent from 3-point range.”
This week: 7th, Last week: 14th
Notes: “Not only have the Los Angeles Clippers won four straight games and five of their last six, but their overtime win over the Warriors is what ignited the Kevin Durant-Draymond Green feud that could eventually unravel a dynasty.
Only time will tell if that actually comes to fruition, but for the time being, the Clippers look the part of ‘playoff team,’ especially as they continue to eke out narrow wins with promising rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander having worked his way into the starting lineup.”