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Power Rankings Watch: How Are The Clippers Faring in Week 13?

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The 27-13 Clippers are currently fifth in the Western Conference Standings. Let’s see where NBA media members rank them after a 1-1 week.

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Los Angeles Clippers v Denver Nuggets Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Another week, another round of blah games. While the Clippers are within a half game of the second seed in the West, they have looked bad of late. Honestly, I still think the panic meter should be low given a bunch of obstacles: the putrid health of the team, lack of chemistry due to new parts, lack of practice time, injuries, etc. These are real impediments that have prevented the Clippers from taking the league by storm. Still, they are 14 games above .500 and have shown that they can out-talent anyone on any given night. They just haven’t shown it in awhile.

But! Out-talenting teams is not Clipper basketball, or at least it hasn’t been since the Lob City era ended. This is where the root of the Clippers problems lie: they are consistently getting out-hustled and their effort level is low on a nightly basis. They get up for games against most of the contenders (except for their effort last night until the fourth quarter, what the hell was that?) but then lay eggs or let bad teams stay in games for way too long. Granted, it’s the NBA, and no teams are truly devoid of any talent, but the Clips play down to their competition way too often.

Still, we all need to take a pill of chill and breathe. LA is still playing winning ball, with a nice, breezy schedule (yes, they play down to teams but its nice not to play the brutal opening schedule they had) upcoming and (hopefully) a nice streak of a clean bill of health. Hopefully.

Let’s see where NBA media members rank the Clips out of 30 teams going into the thirteenth week of the season.

ESPN

This week: 5, Last week: 4

Notes: “After Montrezl Harrell declared the Clippers aren’t a great team, they beat the Knicks and the Warriors, then lost on the road to the Nuggets in a game in which they looked fairly outclassed. But again, Paul George wasn’t playing. Which remains the point with the Clippers so often in discussing their results and juxtaposing it with their potential. When George and Kawhi Leonard both play, the Clippers are 14-4 with an impressive net rating of plus-10.7. The Clippers’ top eight is very, very good. We just don’t get to see it all that often right now.”

Sports Illustrated

This week: 6, Last week: N/A

Notes: “We shouldn’t take Paul George’s impressive three-point stroke for granted. George is banging home 39.5% of triples this season, in line with his percentages from deep in the last six seasons. George is nearly 6’10”, and he’s one of the game’s smoothest drivers to the tin. Adding his proficiency from three is almost unfair.”

CBS Sports

This week: 5, Last week: 5

Notes: “The Clippers looked less than refreshed after four days off, putting up a lackluster effort in a win over the Warriors then getting blown out by the Nuggets, who had lost at home to the Cavs the night before. Paul George missed both games with a hamstring strain, and head coach Doc Rivers doesn’t seem too concerned with his team’s recent malaise. The Clippers have have gone 4-3 with a negative net rating since their Christmas Day win over the Lakers, and aren’t exactly looking like title contenders at the moment.”

Bleacher Report

This week: 6, Last week: 4

Notes: “Kawhi Leonard piled up 36 points, nine rebounds, five assists, three steals and a block in Friday’s 109-100 win over the Warriors, L.A.’s first game following a badly needed four-day break. Though the scoring-starved Dubs didn’t exactly present the ideal test, it was still encouraging to see the Clips hold an opponent to 100 points on 38.5 percent shooting after closing the previous week by surrendering 140 points to the Grizzlies and 132 points to the Knicks.

Granted, the Clippers had to rally from a 10-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to get the job done against Golden State. But Leonard appeared to have some extra bounce after the time off, and the win came despite the absence of Paul George.Sunday’s loss in Denver made it a 1-1 week.

L.A. remains fifth in net rating, but it has had real trouble finding consistent offense with George out, and the defense is allowing too many clean three-point looks. Nobody wants to see the full-strength Clips in the playoffs, but the current regular-season version of the team isn’t worthy of a top-five spot anymore.”

NBA.com

This week: 8, Last week: 5

Notes: “Healthy or not (they’ve been without Paul George or Kawhi Leonard in each of their last four games), the Clippers just aren’t very good right now. They’ve won four of their last six, but the last two wins have come at home ... by a total of 12 points ... against the Knicks and Warriors.

In general, their defense has been disappointing. But with George (strained left hamstring) out over the weekend, they were worse than average offensively against Golden State and Denver. With the loss to the Nuggets, the Clippers have dropped into fifth place and are 6-6 in games between the top seven teams in the West.

A road trip might do them some good. With the Grammys coming to Staples Center, both the Lakers and Clippers are hitting the road this weekend and not returning until Jan. 28, when they meet for the third time.”

Yahoo Sports

This week: 7, Last week: N/A

Notes: “Paul George aggravated his hamstring injury at practice last Wednesday and sat out Friday and Sunday’s contests as a result. The Clips lost in Denver on Sunday and are 8-6 this season when George doesn’t play. Fortunately, Kawhi Leonard said over the weekend that he feels like his knee continues to get better. “I feel better,” Leonard said. “Feeling better. I’m able to jump without it grabbing too much. And hopefully I just keep going uphill from here.”

The Athletic

This week: 4, Last week: 6th

Notes: “Positive Takeaway: The depth of weapons is what I marveled at during the quarter mark, but right now I’m looking at just how dominant this team will be if it can keep Paul George and Kawhi Leonard on the floor together. In their 461 minutes together this season, the Los Angeles Clippers have outscored opponents by 10.7 points per 100 possessions. That’s a good level of dominance right there. But it’s not everything it could be. They could be a lot more dominant. In comparison, LeBron and AD are outscoring opponents by 12.4 per 100 when they’re on the floor together. They’ve also had over 400 more minutes on the floor than Kawhi and PG. The Clippers know this duo has title-winning levels of dominance, and yet they’ve barely scratched the surface with each other.

Negative question: Is the knee injury for Kawhi going to be their biggest concern all season? It’s a big problem if he starts to waver in his health in any way. The load management issue got outed as more than just rest for Kawhi and the Clippers. It was the knee injury he’s been battling, which Leonard didn’t love the team having to divulge through league investigation. The Clippers can survive without George being 100 percent. They can survive without Lou Williams or Montrezl Harrell being at the top of their games. But if they want to win the championship, they can’t have Kawhi hobbling out there in the postseason. They need him healthy enough to posterize anybody at any time.”