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Ignore the Incoming Skeptics. The Clippers’ Bench Will be Great Again in 2020

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After a week or two of optimism, doubt from online (read: Twitter) circles is already swirling around the Clippers. Is it justified?

Golden State Warriors v LA Clippers - Game Six Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

No, the Clippers’ bench is not overrated.

You want more? Should I even bother writing about such a ridiculous topic? Probably not. I will anyway.

The Clippers’ bench averaged over 53 points per game last season, the highest in over 30 years. Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell (both of whom will be back on the Clippers this season) averaged a combined 36.6 points per game, the highest number by a reserve duo in NBA history.

The Clippers have lost some bench pieces this summer: Ty Wallace, Garrett Temple, and Sindarius Thornwell all played roles for the reserves last season, as did previously departed players like Mike Scott and Boban Marjanovic. JaMychal Green, who was so crucial for the Clippers down the stretch, will probably start, so his presence will be missed among the reserves.

But Landry Shamet, who started for the Clippers after the trade deadline and into the playoffs, is likely to come off the bench for much of this season (either he or Green will), adding even more firepower to the already stacked unit. Rodney McGruder and Moe Harkless started games most of 2018-2019, and did so for playoff teams. Both guys will come off the pine for the Clippers. A Lou-Shamet-McGruder-Harkless-Harrell lineup features five players who would all start for a significant number of teams in the NBA.

Lou Williams is 32, but he became the NBA’s all-time leading bench scorer last season, and is showing few signs of slowing down. Montrezl Harrell is only getting better, and he’s been working hard on his outside shot. The two of them alone are the engine to a phenomenal reserve unit. Add in the rest of the mix, and it’s almost unfair.

That’s not even counting the recently acquired Patrick Patterson, who was one of the best bench players in the NBA as recently as two-three seasons ago. Or second-year lottery prospect Jerome Robinson, who showed flashes of NBA scoring and ballhandling ability in his rookie season. Or promising rookies Terrance Mann and Mfiondu Kabengele, who stood out very well in the 2019 Summer League.

Nobody significant has downed the Clippers’ bench yet, but it’s only a matter of time. August and September are the months of the NBA calendar dedicated to hot takes and ludicrous predictions, so I’d expect a talking head to spout off about this in the coming weeks. This post is just getting a jump ahead of the criticism. The Clippers’ bench will likely be a destroyer of worlds once again, and there’s very little reason to think otherwise.